Amazon has been hinting about plans for Prime Air drone deliveries for a few years now, since as early as 2013. Those plans began to unfold publicly this week, with Amazon's announcement of drone delivery trials in the UK. While these trials are small, working with only two shoppers so far—and a delivery of an Amazon Fire TV stick and a bag of popcorn—Amazon projects to expand these, from initially dozens to eventually hundreds who live within a short radius of the Prime Air fulfillment center in Cambridge.
While Amazon has US Federal Aviation Administration hoops to jump through in the United States regulating the use of commercial drones, such as the drone needs to be controlled by a certified operator and must remain in line-of-sight at all times, Amazon has decided on UK testing until regulations relax in the United States.
Prime Air has been testing its delivery drones in locations in addition to the UK, such as in Austria, where Amazon is said to be working on vision-based sense-and-avoid technologies.
Few beta testers in the works for Amazon shouldn't be a sign of smallness for Amazon in the future. Sources believe since Amazon received permission to operate beyond line-of-sight flights in the UK after having passed extensive safety tests, it's likely a matter of months before more people around Cambridge will be ordering products by Prime Air drone. However, Amazon has noted that the current trials were only permitted to operate in daylight with low winds and good visibility, so it looks like for the time being, the next orders of movie popcorn delivered by drone from Amazon Prime Air will need some pre-planning for that night's movie.
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