WSL Future of Health Event

Amazon uses drone to make delivery

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SEATTLE — Just 13 minutes after placing an order on, a customer in Cambridge, England, received the order — an Amazon Fire TV streaming device and a bag of popcorn — dropped at the customer’s doorstep by an autonomous drone, the first such delivery for the company.

Amazon’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, confirmed the delivery last month in a tweet.

The drone delivery program, while groundbreaking, is still in its infant stages and it will likely be some time before drones carrying Amazon orders are filling the skies. The drone program, according to Amazon, is in “beta test” mode — with only two customers part of its Prime Air trial so far. In a video, the company said it plans to expand the offering to dozens soon and then to hundreds of customers, all in the Cambridge area.

Britain is the first country to allow Amazon to test the drone delivery system, which is part of Amazon Prime Air. Amazon petitioned the government of the U.K. in order to win approval for its drone program. The deal reached between the company and the country’s Civilian Aviation Authority marked the beginning of the drone program after several years of regulatory ­obstacles.

Amazon’s custom-designed prototype drones, according to the company, can take off and land vertically flying in a similar fashion as a plane over distances of up to 10 miles at an altitude of 400 feet.

As part of the trial, the drones will operate seven days a week in the area around the Cambridge fulfillment center. The drones, however, are restricted to travelling during daylight hours and are unable to fly in certain weather conditions.

Delivery by air is free for Amazon customers living within several miles of the company’s facility in Cambridge. The company said it ultimately plans to expand the use of the unmanned flying vehicles in multiple countries as regulators allow.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login