After years of work and several delays, on Monday, Amazon said it’s ready to let a fleet of Amazon Prime Air delivery drones take flight. Once it receives the final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), deliveries will begin in California.
Drone delivery services are not a new idea, and it’s something every big retailer is working hard to offer. Kroger is testing a similar service in Ohio, while Walmart just announced same-day drone deliveries in six different states, and more are on the way.
Now, it looks like Amazon’s program is ready for takeoff. According to a press release, the company worked closely with the FAA and local officials from the small town of Lockeford, California, to gain the rights to fly.
“Lockeford residents will soon have access to one of the world’s leading delivery innovations. It’s exciting that Amazon will be listening to the feedback of the San Joaquin County community to inform the future development of this technology.”
Similar to test programs underway with Walmart, Amazon will reportedly offer thousands of small items, although the company didn’t state any size requirements. In comparison, Walmart’s system can deliver anything within about 10 lbs in under two hours, so we’ll have to wait and see what Amazon offers.
Amazon promised drone delivery options for nearly a decade, and once the approval goes through, it’ll start testing Prime Air deliveries later this year. Unfortunately, to start, it’ll only be available in Lockeford, and we don’t have any details regarding other cities or a potential release date.
Once all systems are a go, Prime customers in Lockeford can order products through the new “Amazon Prime Air” service, sit back, and wait for a drone to show up above the house. Amazon uses several cutting-edge obstacle avoidance technologies and even AI for object detection.
Its drones will drop to a safe height, clear of obstacles or people, deliver the package, and head back to the warehouse.
via The Verge