Technology

Jeremy Clarkson unveils new Amazon delivery drone

Amazon delivery drone Image copyright Amazon Prime Air

Amazon's drone delivery project Prime Air has unveiled a new prototype in a video featuring former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson.

According to the video, the drone could fly for up to 15 miles (24km) and deliver a parcel within 30 minutes of the order being placed.

There was no indication of when it might be used by the retail giant.

The firm was given permission to test delivery drones in the US earlier this year.

It also has drone delivery development centres in the UK and Israel.

The prototype will be part of a "family" of delivery aircraft, Mr Clarkson added in the clip, and is one of around a dozen devices the firm is developing.

The drone is equipped with "sense and avoid technology" and can fly at a height of 400 feet.

Security

Tech lawyer Luke Scanlon from Pinsent Masons law firm said security could be an issue if this technology is software-based.

"'Detect and avoid' systems rely on software and given the current climate of hacking and data breaches, it is very important that co-ordinated efforts are made to ensure that systems are put in place which are given the highest level of assurance in terms of security," he said.

"Once these standards are agreed by technical experts, arguments to support the creation of commercial drone services beyond the line of sight will gain more support in the ongoing regulatory reform discussions and forums currently taking place."

Amazon said it would not launch the service until it was able to "demonstrate safe operations".

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has strict criteria for commercial drone use and some American politicians have called for the setting up of a drone register.

The FAA estimates that by 2020 there will be around 30,000 commercial drones and many more civilian devices in use in America.

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