Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, announced three years ago that Amazon was working on a drone delivery service, to overwhelming fanfare. Now, his vision of a drone service, titled Amazon Prime Air, has become a reality, at least in the UK.
Amazon Starts Shipping Via Drone
The first Amazon drone delivery landed safely at its destination in Cambridge, the logistics of which — ordering, loading, and shipping — took merely 13 minutes.
A video Amazon uploaded on its site depicted the whole process, with the order being completed by an electrically powered quadcopter drone roaming 400 feet above ground.
Moving forward, these drones will soar off the UK airspace, en route to select English customers who'll be rooted in history as the first recipients of Amazon orders shipped via drones.
Drone Delivery Service Speed
Amazon claims that the drones can make deliveries within 30 minutes, a time frame that includes placing the order, deploying the drone, and landing at its destination.
Don't Get Too Excited
Amazon's drone delivery service is presumably still in its testing period, since the shipping method is granted, for now, only to two Cambridge residents, and the drones can only make deliveries during the day, provided that the weather is amiable.
In the coming months, the UK trial will expand to dozens of customers within the warehouse's proximity, according to BBC. The Cambridge fulfillment center houses the drones. Once an order is placed, a drone will cascade along an automated track and into the launching area, flying autonomously. The drones can lug items weighing as much as 2.7 kilograms (5 pounds).
Federal Aviation Administration Rules Say No To Drone Deliveries
Despite being in early testing stages, it's still quite an achievement for Amazon to implement the service, given the fact that prospect of drone deliveries, while promising, was largely the topic of spoofs and parodies when first publicly announced.
Amazon executing its drone delivery service abroad owes much to the fact that such a commercial operation is forbidden in the United States. Because Amazon's drone are autonomous, meaning no one pilots it as the device is guided by GPS; and because drones fly beyond a human's line of sight, Amazon's drones delivery service run unparallel to FAA's rules, grounding implementation of the proposed service.
There's no word on what it'll take before Amazon could start deploying drones in U.S. airspace.
Amazon, however, isn't the only one dominating the airspace. In August, Pizza chain Domino successfully demonstrated pizza deliveries via drones in New Zealand, and the service was officially launched this past November. Google is also trying to experiment with deliveries via drone through Project Wing, which in September partnered up with Chipotle to test Burrito deliveries to a select few.
Do you think Amazon's drone delivery service will ever hit U.S. airspace? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!