Prime Air: Lockford, the quiet city where Amazon packages will rain | technology

This hexagonal drone is one of the designs that Amazon has developed in its labs in recent years.Amazon

Amazon has chosen a quiet town of 3,200 people to launch one of its most awaited services, drone parcel delivery. The achievement was significant enough to make room in the Wikipedia entry for Lockeford, the community in Northern California that will see this new step toward a robotic future. “By launching this service, we will invest in the community, create new business opportunities and build relationships with local organizations, as well as reduce carbon emissions,” the company stated when confirming the pilot site for the trial.

Amazon said Monday that it is working with FAA authorities to obtain the necessary permits to make deliveries using remote-controlled machines. Only three logistics companies in the country have started operation in front of the air regulator. The company has been working on this project for nearly 10 years and it involves scientists, engineers, aviation industry professionals, and receivers. In its company blog, the company founded by Jeff Bezos did not specify a start date for distribution in Lockeford, but promised to share photos and pictures soon.

Lockeford residents will find a selection of products eligible for Prime Air on Amazon. Once purchased, they will receive an estimated delivery time of the order. “For these planes, they will fly to the designated delivery area, descend into the customers’ backyard and hover at a safe distance. After that, they will leave the package and return to altitude,” the company explained.

The machines that will be used are not ordinary drones. According to Amazon, they have developed “advanced, industry-leading” devices that can avoid obstacles such as other planes, chimneys, people or pets, thanks to a series of sensors that allow them to see their surroundings on long-range paths. “This design was for two scenarios: to fly safely in transit and to be safe while approaching the ground … if obstacles are detected, our drones will immediately change course,” the company added.

It is not known for certain why the consumer giant chose this small city 60 kilometers south of Sacramento, the capital of California. Amazon issued only a few winks, including that Lockford has “historic connections” to the airline industry. The city was founded in 1851 by two brothers who left Boston in search of a better life. They got to this place, where they built a hut, but soon they could not live in it because of the large number of bears. After a short time, they built a fort that gave the community its name. At the end of the 19th century, Weldon Cook, a local resident, began experimenting with building and flying airplanes. More than a century later, residents will have the opportunity to sign up for free delivery of thousands of everyday products.

Despite the optimism the company uses in its corporate communications, it remains to be seen if Amazon can finally fulfill its long-held dream. Since 2016, the company has begun to reveal its plans. The first tests took place in the UK, the location chosen for the launch of Prime Air. Executives quickly threw the bells, saying that long after the drones were going to be a reality. They gave tours of the laboratories that designed the machines and opened a huge office in Cambridge. A video went viral on social media with the promise that what used to be science fiction is no longer science fiction.

The workers’ voices were a far cry from the illusion created by the executives. Instead, a series of testimonies compiled by tech magazine Wired described a chaotic work environment with disorganization, high employee turnover, and a lack of project leadership. The publication claims that more than 100 Cambridge office workers have been laid off. Others were transferred to Costa Rica. In 2019, the project’s course was corrected, which now aims to prove that Amazon is ready to fly.

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