Are we a step closer to getting our online products delivered by drone? Could be. Amazon said yesterday it’s struck a deal with the UK government to get us there faster.
Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority and a cross-government team have given the e-tail giant the necessary permission to “explore the steps needed to make the delivery of parcels by small drones a reality,” maybe by next year.
The US equivalent, the Federal Aviation Administration, is holding back and recently said drone deliveries would require separate regulation. Drones can’t be flown out of sight of the operator in the US but in Britain, a trial of deliveries”beyond line of sight” will start in a number of rural and suburban areas.
They’ll be flown at up to 400ft and distances of up to 10 miles with one operator controlling multiple drones and Amazon testing sensors so they can get out of the way of obstacles.
Will it all be worth it? Amazon thinks so, with the prospect of being able to deliver items up to 2.3kg in less than half an hour likely to be a pretty major inducement for customers to sign up to its Prime service once it has a whole commercial feels of drones in place.
While this deal is a UK-only one, it will be closely watched. Apart from Britain being one of the world’s key e-tail markets, aviation authorities and governments elsewhere will be keen to see just how practical, obtrusive/unobtrusive, popular etc drones are before they push their own drone buttons.