The new drone has the same function and goal as its predecessor designs: fly vertically hundreds of feet into the air, autonomously maneuver and land, and deliver packages up to five pounds. The MK30 will be lighter and smaller than the current hexagonal MK27-2 drone, and it will be put through “rigorous evaluation by national aerospace authorities like the Federal Aviation Administration to prove its safety and reliability,” as written in a press release.
Amazon testing drone components in a wind tunnel.Image: Amazon
Amazon isn’t giving up on its decade-long efforts to widely launch its Prime Air drone delivery service; the company announced in July that its next test site will be College Station, Texas, where it’s partnering with the city and Texas A&M University doing test flights with its current drone prototype, the MK27-2.
This comes at a time Amazon’s devices unit is facing billions of dollars in operating losses, and the company is looking to find areas to cut costs, which may include slowing the development of new features for its popular Alexa AI assistant. The company is now evaluating how to optimize costs, and we don’t yet know if Prime Air can get more hang time.