Amazon has been given permission by the UK government to start testing a drone delivery service.
The approval covers three key areas of testing for the feasibility of using drones to deliver parcels:
- Beyond line-of-sight operations in rural and suburban areas
- Sensor performance to ensure drones can spot and avoid obstacles
- Testing the feasibility of one person operating multiple automated drones
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy, explained that the permission from the UK government will benefit consumers, industry and society.
“The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation. We’ve been investing in PrimeAir research and development here for quite some time,” he said.
“This announcement strengthens our partnership with the UK and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be fully involved with the tests, and will use Amazon's experiences to inform wider policy and regulations in this area.
“We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system. These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach,” said CAA policy director Tim Johnson.
Amazon has already given an insight into how the company expects the delivery method to work in a video on YouTube posted last year showing it in action.
The approval in the UK follows similar permissions from the US Federal Aviation Authority last year as the company seeks to add drone delivery to its capabilities.
Amazon is not the only firm looking to the skies to boost its offerings. Facebook announced the first flight of its Aquila plane last week that will beam internet access to the world's remotest regions.
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