With the help of drones, Amazon Prime delivery could be even more immediate. Amazon has established a new partnership with the UK government that will allow the company to test new drone delivery technology for its highly-anticipated future delivery system, Amazon Prime Air.
If testing is successful, Prime Air is slated to deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial drones that can fly directly to your doorstep straight from the distribution center — a method that is both faster and more environmentally friendly, according to Amazon.
This round of testing is set to evaluate both sensor performance, which ensures that the drones can effectively identify and avoid any obstacles, and beyond line-of-sight operations in rural and suburban areas. Amazon will also test flights where one person operates several automated drones at once.
The UK has long been able to back Amazon's drone exploration, partly because the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK equivalent of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), is less strict when it comes to drone regulation. The FAA currently does not allow for testing outside the visual line-of-sight. On top of that, U.S. operators can't fly drones over people who aren't willing participants in the operation.
According to Amazon, the CAA will be fully involved in testing operations to "help inform the development of future policy and regulation." Though the U.S. is much more conservative when it comes to drone use, it looks like innovation isn't too far away. Walmart has begun testing delivery drones within warehouses, and Facebook announced its successful flight of a solar-powered drone that delivers Internet access.
Still, Amazon says putting Prime Air into service "will take some time." Be on the lookout for Prime goodies in the skies.
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