Amazon is launching ultra-fast drone deliveries

24th October 2023
Paige West

Amazon is set to further revolutionise the way we receive packages. By late 2024, customers in the UK, Italy, and some US cities will experience the future of delivery – via drones.

The Prime Air drone delivery system, already operational in parts of the US, is expanding its horizons. Amazon has been successfully using drones to deliver packages weighing up to five pounds in less than an hour for nearly a year. The forthcoming international expansion marks a significant milestone for Amazon's Prime Air initiative.

David Carbon, Vice President of Amazon’s Prime Air, conveyed the company's enthusiasm for the expansion, highlighting their ongoing collaboration with regulators and communities to ensure the service meets the needs of both customers and the wider public.

He said: “As part of our continued efforts to innovate for customers, we are excited to announce the expansion of Prime Air delivery internationally, for the first time outside the US. We have been delivering packages by drone for almost a year in California and in Texas. We have built a safe, reliable delivery service and have partnered very closely with regulators and communities. We will continue with that collaboration into the future to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve.”

The new MK30 drone

Prime Air is also launching the MK30 drone, an upgrade from its predecessors. The MK30 boasts a quieter flight, a lighter build, and enhanced efficiency. Its range will enable Amazon to serve customers located further from its fulfilment centres. Equipped with state-of-the-art sense and avoid technology, the MK30 ensures deliveries are made safely, navigating around unexpected obstacles like new trees or cranes.

In a significant shift, drones will now deploy from some of Amazon's Same-Day Delivery sites, integrating into the company's vast delivery network. This means that in certain locations, Amazon's traditional delivery vans, Flex delivery vehicles, and Prime Air drones will operate from the same facility, streamlining the delivery process and enhancing efficiency.

Amazon's drone delivery endeavour has garnered support from industry regulators and government officials. UK Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere, lauded Amazon's initiative, highlighting its potential economic and environmental benefits.

Vere said: "Amazon’s announcement is a fantastic example of Government and industry coming together to achieve our shared vision for commercial drones to be commonplace in the UK by 2030. Not only will this help boost the economy, offering consumers even more choice while helping keep the environment clean with zero emission technology, but it will also build our understanding how to best use the new technology safely and securely.”

Frederic Laugere, Head of Innovation Advisory Services at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, emphasised the importance of such projects in ensuring the safe and equitable use of airspace: “Exploring the options of how drones can be safely and successfully incorporated into more of the UK’s airspace is key. It is vital that projects such as this take place to feed into the overall knowledge and experiences that will soon enable drones to be operating beyond the line of sight of their pilot on a day-to-day basis, while also still allowing safe and equitable use of the air by other users.”

The road ahead

Amazon envisions a future where drones make millions of deliveries annually. With each delivery, the company aims to build trust and confidence in this new mode of delivery. As Amazon gears up to launch drone deliveries in new cities and countries, customers can look forward to receiving their packages in record time.

The expansion of Amazon's Prime Air drone delivery system is not just a testament to technological advancements but also to the company's commitment to enhancing the customer experience. As we await more details in the coming months, one thing is certain – the future of package delivery is here, and it's soaring high in the sky!

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