Amazon is still struggling to get drone delivery to work

Report from Bloomberg We’ll take a closer look at the obstacles that hinder Amazon’s efforts to get the delivery drone program off the ground because of high employee turnover and potential safety risks.

according to BloombergThe company’s test site in Pendleton, Oregon, experienced five crashes in four months. The drone crashed in May after losing its propeller, Bloomberg Amazon says it cleaned up the wreckage before the Federal Aviation Administration investigated it. Amazon spokesman AvZammit disputed this, saying that Amazon recorded the event and moved the drone according to an order received from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The following month, the drone’s motor switched from an upward flight path to a straight flight path, causing the motor to stop. Both of the two safety features, one that is supposed to land the drone in this type of situation and the other that stabilizes the drone, have failed. As a result, the drone turned upside down and fell from 160 feet in the air, leading to a 25-acre wildfire. After that, it was issued by the local fire department.

“Instead of a controlled descent to a safe landing, [the drone] An uncontrollable vertical fall caused it to fall about 160 feet and was consumed in a fire, “FAA said. Bloomberg..

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first announced a 30-minute drone delivery in 2013, but almost 10 years later, no drone delivers Amazon packages to the front door. In 2019, the company previewed a redesign of the Prime Air delivery drone with the ability to fly vertically, suggesting that it will begin delivering drones later that year. This is a promise that has never been fulfilled. A year later, Amazon announced that the FAA had approved the company to operate as a drone airline in 2020. This is “an important step forward for Prime Air,” said Amazon’s Vice President of Prime Air.

last year, Wired The report reveals that Amazon’s drone delivery business is struggling in the UK as well, despite delivering its first drone near Cambridge in 2016. wired The report suggests that British costumes are compromised by some of the same problems described by BloombergIncludes high turnover and potential safety issues. A worker reportedly drank beer during his work at a facility that analyzes drone footage of people and animals based in the United Kingdom. Wired Another said he held down the “approve” button on his computer, regardless of whether the footage was dangerous or not.

In a statement The VergeThe NTSB never classified Amazon’s flight test as an accident, and did not injure or endanger the building, Zamit said.

“Safety is our number one priority,” Zammit said. “We use closed private facilities to test our systems to the limit and beyond. Such rigorous testing is expected to trigger this type of event, and each Apply learning from flights to improve safety. No one has been injured or harmed as a result of these flights. Each test is conducted in compliance with all applicable regulations. increase.”

Former and current Amazon employees Bloomberg The company prioritizes the hasty deployment of drone programs over safety. Former Amazon drone project manager Cheddi Skeete said he was fired last month after talking to his manager about safety concerns.Skeet said Bloomberg I was reluctant to continue testing the drone that crashed five days ago, but the team was said to have inspected 180 engines with 30 different drones. Skeete doubted this claim because checking the motor is a tedious process. Bloomberg Report.

“We take safety reports seriously. We have a well-known safety reporting system for all team members and encourage them to raise safety suggestions and concerns.” Zamit said. The Verge.. “In addition to using this system, we encourage employees to provide other feedback they may have through managers, personnel departments, or our leadership team.”

Former Amazon drone flight assistant David Johnson Bloomberg Amazon will sometimes run tests “without a complete flight team” and “insufficient equipment”.Johnson also claims that companies often assigned multiple roles to one person. Bloomberg Says it is backed by two other former Amazon employees.

“They give people multiple things to do in a very narrow time frame to try to increase their number, and people cut corners,” Johnson said. Bloomberg.. “They were more worried about sending out the flight and didn’t want to slow down.”

Zamit denied Johnson’s claim, saying: Prior to each flight test, the crew will be briefed on their role, “explained Zamit. There is no time limit to complete any aspect of the flight test. Our team can take the time to safely complete the role. “

Correction April 11th 19:28 ET: Earlier versions of the article described the drone’s descent as “burning” when it ignited when it landed. We apologize for the error.

Updated to ET at 7:28 pm on April 11: Added context around Amazon’s response to the drone crash and added a statement from AvZammit.

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