SEATTLE - Amazon recently debuted the newest version of its Prime Air drones, which will begin delivering to more customers in certain U.S. locations next year.
Images of the Prime Air drone, called the MK30, were shared last week in a blog post by the company. The drones use vertical take-off to get off the ground, before transitioning into "horizontal, wing-borne flight" during package delivery.
Amazon said the Prime Air drones can carry packages up to 5 pounds and deliver to customers quite fast, "typically in one hour or less."
Customers will be able to choose from thousands of items for drone delivery, including household essentials like AA batteries, as well as beauty and medications, the company said.
The newest Prime Air drone is quieter than previous models, according to Amazon.
"Prime Air’s Flight Science team custom designed the propellers to reduce the MK30’s perceived noise by almost half," the company wrote in the post. "Even as the drone is descending, its sound is still quieter than the range of sounds you’ll generally hear in a neighborhood."
The new MK30 can also operate in more diverse weather conditions, including light rain, the company said.
Where Amazon’s Prime Air drones deliver
Amazon’s newest Prime Air drone, the MK30, is pictured in a provided image. (Credit: Amazon)
Residents in College Station, Texas, can already get prescriptions delivered via the Prime Air drone within an hour of placing their order. Amazon Pharmacy customers can select "free drone delivery in less than 60 minutes" at checkout, and a pharmacist will then ensure medications are loaded and transported to the customer’s home.
College Station residents have access to more than 500 medications that treat common conditions, including flu, asthma, and pneumonia, via drone delivery, the company said.
Amazon’s Prime Air division began testing drone deliveries of common household items last December in College Station, as well as in Lockeford, California.
Amazon spokesperson Jessica Bardoulas said the company has made thousands of deliveries since launching the service, and opted to expand it to include prescriptions based in part on customer requests.
In addition to College Stations and Lockeford, Amazon said it will launch drone delivery at a third U.S. location – as well as cities in Italy and the United Kingdom – by the end of 2024.
The company said it will disclose the exact locations in the coming months.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.