Amazon Prime Air drone delivery program is now making delivering in the UK. Amazon announced today that it’s already begun deliveries to two customers in the UK, and will be expanding that to dozens, possibly hundreds, in the coming months. This trial is restricted to small items, for now, focusing on delivering packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less.
According to a press release, on December 7th, 2016, Prime Air drone delivered its first order: an Amazon Fire TV and bag of popcorn. It took 13 minutes from customer click to package delivery at a home near Cambridge, UK. They didn’t fly too far, but this the major step for Prime Air.
The drones are loaded in a fulfillment center and then rolls out of the hall on rails, after which they take off. The full flight happens autonomously, including the landing, and the idea is to ensure that all deliveries arrive within 30 minutes.
Although Amazon has a Prime Air development center in the United States, as well as in the UK, Austria, and Israel. Amazon plans to test drones in multiple international locations, the company has started trials in the UK, rather than the United States because it’s received permission from regulators in the country.
Amazon can operate these drones beyond the line of sight in rural and suburban areas. And because the drones can sense and avoid obstacles, the UK is allowing flights where one person operates multiple highly automated drones.
For now, the drones are delivering only to customers located in close proximity to a specialized warehouse. Customers place a small QR code looking piece of signage on their lawn, which allows the Prime Air drone to know precisely where it can safely land.
Amazon tells that the current batch of customers will be able to order seven days in a week, but only during daylight hours and when the weather is okay to fly.