Having online purchases delivered to you by small drones could soon become a reality, after the UK Government today gave the green light for Amazon to take the first steps in trialling the delivery method.
A cross-government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has provided Amazon with permissions to explore three key innovations: beyond line-of-sight operations in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles, and flights where one person operates multiple highly-automated drones.
Paul Misener, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Innovation Policy and Communications, said the new partnership will bring the online retail giant closer to its goal of using drones to safely delivery parcels in 30 minutes.
“The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation – we’ve been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time,” he said.
This early stages of the trial will help Amazon and the government understand how drones can be used safely and reliably in the logistics industry.
It also aims to identify what operating rules and safety regulations will be needed to help move the drone industry forward.
“Using small drones for the delivery of parcels will improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly growing industry, and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand,” Misener said.
As the UK’s aviation safety regulator, the CAA will be fully involved in the initial stages and the outcomes of these tests will help inform the development of future policy and regulation in this area.