Amazon drone tests set to take off

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Amazon given the thumbs up for drone delivery tests
Amazon given the thumbs up for drone delivery tests

Related tags Government

Amazon is to test the viability of drone delivery in the UK, in partnership with the UK government.

The online retail giant revealed yesterday (July 26) it had received permission from the government to test the drone delivery of packages weighing less than 2.3kg. If successful, drones could enable the delivery of packages within 30 minutes of ordering.

Amazon has gained permission to test three key areas of commercial drone delivery. Those are: piloting beyond line of sight, avoiding obstacles and using one person to pilot multiple drones at once.

Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy and communications Paul Misener welcomed the licence to test drone technology.

“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,”​ he said.

“The UK is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society.”

‘Benefit consumers, industry and  society’

The drones will be limited to an altitude of 122m, almost 100 times lower than cruising altitude of commercial passenger and freight aircraft.

The testing will focus on delivering packages weighing 2.3kg, the equivalent to about six cans of drink. Packages less than 2.3kg accounted for 90% of Amazon’s global total sales.

The tests will help the government and Amazon understand how drones can be used safely for delivery. It would also allow the government to identify operating rules and regulations, said the firm.

The UK’s aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), will oversee the testing.

CAA policy director Tim Johnson said: “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.”

Investing in drone technology

Amazon said it had been investing in drone technology in the UK for “quite some time”.

Misener 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.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s attempts to win US testing licences were understood to have been frustrated by red tape.

Amazon drone testing – at a glance

• First time drones tested for delivery in UK

• Tests to focus on drones carry packages weighing 2.3kg or less

• Test drones must not exceed altitude of 122m

Related topics Legal Supply Chain

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1 comment


Posted by P Rogers,

If I get hit by one of these drones, does Amazon have any insurance if I am injured?

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