Amazon is inviting school children to design delivery drones as part of a new competition that aims to “inspire the next generation of innovative, creative, and scientific thinkers.”
The Design a Drone Competition is specifically for students in Cambridgeshire aged 6 to 11, which happens to be where Amazon is doing much of the development for its own delivery drone.
Children are being asked to either build a drone using everyday materials such as “wood, plastic, metal, paper and cardboard” or draw a drone and explain what materials the drone would be made out of.
Two winners will receive a rare tour of the Amazon Prime Air Cambridge Lab, along with five of their friends. They will also receive one of Amazon’s Fire tablets and up to £300 worth of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) books and other learning resources. In addition, their delivery drone models will be displayed at Amazon’s drone lab in Cambridge for five months. Runners up will receive a gift basket full of books and other learning resources.
The Seattle-headquartered tech giant has made it clear that it hopes to deliver parcels and packages to its most loyal customers with delivery drones in the future and it has already developed more than a dozen prototypes.
The drones, which are being secretly tested on a farm in Cambridge, are being designed so that they can rise vertically like a helicopter up to 400 feet before flying up to 15 miles at speeds of 50mph, according to Amazon Prime Air cofounder Daniel Buchmueller. He said the 25kg drones are highly automated and able to carry packages up to 2kg in weight, adding that there are more than a dozen prototypes already made.
Amazon says the competition is designed to get more young people interested in STEM subjects but it’s possible that it wants to try and change the perception that drones are dangerous by getting children involved.
The competition launched on October 3 and is open for entries until October 21. The winners will be announced by November 9.
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