It seems that everything is falling into place for Amazon and their parcel delivery by air service. Most recently, Amazon has partnered with the UK government, allowing the company to go ahead with testing of their Amazon Air drone delivery service in rural and suburban areas throughout the country.
Amazon has been given permission from the government, as well as the UK Civil Aviation Authority, to begin testing line of sight drone operations in specific rural and lightly populated suburban areas. In addition to line of sight flight, the company will be allowed to test sensor based flight, with drones avoiding obstacles without direct human control, and another part of the testing will focus on the feasibility of a single operator overseeing the semi-autonomous flight of several delivery drones.
Amazon’s Vision of a Future with Drones
Amazon has been talking about drone technology since at least 2003. The company has a long term goal of delivering a significant portion of their smaller products using drones. According to representatives from Amazon, drone packages will be limited to 5lb. in weight, however, UAV technology could mean that deliveries would be completed in 30 minutes in areas that have drone coverage. This could provide a huge advantage and an additional value proposition for the company, and it would reduce their reliance on third party logistics partners for some of their smaller deliveries.
Of course, the adoption of drone technology, even in the testing phase, means that Amazon will gain plenty of mindshare amongst the more tech-savvy users in the UK and around the world. Simply trialing drone delivery can provide a huge boost to the Amazon brand, so they’ll start to see benefits even before they can roll out their Amazon Air service.
Amazon Just Another Case of High Profile Drone Research
Although Amazon’s largest operation is based in the United States, they have a significant presence in the United Kingdom and in other parts of Europe. The company chose the UK as their testing location as they believe “the UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation”. Anybody in the local drone community would readily agree with this, as drones have become increasingly popular with commercial operators, enthusiasts, and even government entities.
Most recently, branches of the UK Police have begun testing drones for criminal investigation and search and rescue. It would be an understatement to say that drones are going to play a large role in both commercial and government developments in the next few years.