Amazon’s Dream Of Delivery Drones Nearing Reality

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Amazon’s long-planned fleet of delivery drones has been cleared for takeoff.

The online retail and tech giant has won a green light from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to start using its Prime Air delivery drones to deliver packages and other items, CNBC reported.

The approval by the FAA comes after a years-long drone development process by Amazon that kicked off in 2013.

Last year, Amazon unveiled an electric-powered delivery drone capable of carrying packages weighing less than 5 pounds within a 15-mile radius, with a delivery time under a half hour. Amazon filed a petition seeking approval from the FAA to start using the delivery drone.

Amazon’s delivery drone development program is part of a multibillion-dollar push by the world’s largest retailer to offer same-day delivery to Prime customers, down from two days previously.

Despite the OK from the FAA, Amazon said it has more work and testing to do before it sends its fleet of delivery drones swarming into the skies above cities and towns across the U.S.

Even so, Amazon’s delivery drone already faces competition from models under development by other tech and delivery rivals.

In fact, Alphabet, Google’s corporate parent, beat Amazon to the punch, with its drone-delivery service, Wing, winning FAA approval in April to begin making deliveries, while UPS won a nod from the agency last fall to deploy its own delivery drones.

“This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement to CNBC on Monday (Aug. 31). “We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”

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