Amazon announces Prime Air drones at Westborough robotics facility

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Amazon announces Prime Air drones at Westborough robotics facility
Amazon unveiled its Prime Air drone during an event in Westborough. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – Media from across the state and globe gathered at the Amazon Robotics in Westborough in November as the company unveiled its Prime Air drones.

The drone was unveiled as part of an event called “Delivering the Future” at the Westborough facility.

“How do you get items to customers quickly, cost-effectively and most importantly safely in less than an hour? And how do you do that supporting over 130 million customers in a range of environments, including densely-populated suburban ones?” said Vice President of Prime Air David Carbon.

He continued, “It may surprise you to hear me say, it’s actually not that hard to deliver a package via drone.”

According to Carbon, Amazon has designed and built an autonomous electric drone system that will be able to deliver packages under five pounds in under an hour from when it is ordered to when it is delivered.

“We know our customers and the public will accept drone delivery if they know the system is safe and reliable,” Carbon said. “It’s our job to do that with more than just promises and words.”

Carbon walked through the tests the drones go through. According to his presentation, Amazon developed a “sophisticated and leading sense-and-avoid system” that will allow the drones to seamlessly integrate into the national airspace that will react and avoid other aircrafts, people, pets and obstacles.

“Even when those obstacles weren’t there the day before,” Carbon said.

The drone MK30 is expected to come into service in 2024.

Amazon’s Westborough footprint

The tour came as Amazon has expanded on Otis Street.

Amazon opened its Westborough robotics center in 2021 at the AstraZeneca building at 50 Otis Street.

According to Amazon, the employees at the Westborough facility code, design, test and build both robots and technology that is then used across the company.

In addition to the drones, Amazon officials unveiled robots named “Sparrow” and “Proteus.” According to Amazon, Sparrow has the ability to identify, select and then pick up products, while the bright green Proteus can transport heavy carts.

Amazon Robotics will soon grow even further after the Planning Board approved plans for a 100,000-square-foot expansion next door at 54 Otis Street in the spring.

At the time, attorney Robert Buckley said the facility was to be a companion and supplemental research and development facility that would tie into the work being done at Amazon Robotics.

“We have had this in the planning for quite some time,” Buckley said on April 5.

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