Inside Amazon's secret drone lab


Amazon has made no secret of its drone development program, but now it has offered a peek inside the lab that houses it for the first time.

The company invited Cambridge News and several primary school students to its U.K. research and development facility.  

Amazon hopes to use drones for its Prime Air fulfillment program, although there are still several barriers to implementation, including the Federal Aviation Authority. Still, the research continues by Amazon and others. 

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The schoolchildren were selected at random for the tour, shown prototypes and allowed to use a drone simulator before getting to fly real drones. 

The facility also houses 3-D printers to create drone parts for production on site. 

The drones can carry packages weighing up to 4.5 lbs and can deliver within a 15-mile radius. The device flies at a maximum height of 400 ft. before identifying a safe place to land. 

Much of the testing and development currently focuses on safety, according to Kristen Kish, a Prime Air spokeswoman.  

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"We think customers will love it. But this is not the only thing we do," Kish told Cambridge News. "Amazon customers have choice. It's ultimately going to depend on customer demand."