Amazon to test delivery drones in UK

Amazon has received clearance from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to test small drones doing deliveries.

The online giant said that it has received permission from a cross-government team that is supported by the CAA for testing drones in three key areas.

Amazon will test the drones beyond line of sight operations in rural and suburban areas. It will also test sensor performance in order to ensure that the drones identify and avoid obstacles. Finally, the e-tailer will test operation of flights where one person operates multiple highly automated drones.

Amazon Global Innovation Policy and Communications vice president Paul Misener said, “The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation – we’ve been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time.

“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.”

The company has already launched its visionary delivery service called Prime Air to deliver packages up to 5lbs in under 30 minutes using drones.

One of the limits imposed on Amazon is that it is not to adversely affect other airspace users or to test them near airports.

Paul Misener added: “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.

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

The CAA will be involved during the testing to ensure safe use of drones beyond line of sight.

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.”