Amazon has partnered with the Government on a new programme that will explore the safe use of drones for home deliveries.
The technology giant has been developing drones that can deliver its parcels to private addresses over a short distance as part of its Prime Air initiative, but will now work with the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to develop better safety regulations and improve drone technology – the first tests of its kind in the UK.
Current regulations do not permit drone operators to lose the line of sight of their device or operate over densely populated areas unless they have CAA permission. Technology to overcome these restrictions will be explored in the new programme, which will also test sensor performance to help drones detect and avoid obstacles.
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy and communications 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.
“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,” Mr Misener added.
“The UK is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society.”
The CAA’s 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.”