Ecommerce giant Amazon plans to expand its drone delivery service to a third US state, Italy and the UK by the end of next year.
David Carbon, vice president of Amazon’s Prime Air, said: “As part of our continued efforts to innovate for customers, we are excited to announce the expansion of Prime Air delivery internationally, for the first time outside the US.”
UK locations from which the unmanned aerial vehicles will operate have yet to be confirmed. However, its Cambridgeshire site which was used for trials of an early version of the Prime Air delivery system in 2016 will not be reopened.
Amazon said it will no longer be using the standalone centres, and instead will integrate the drones into its existing network.
“We have been delivering packages by drone for almost a year in California and in Texas. We have built a safe, reliable delivery service and have partnered very closely with regulators and communities,” noted Carbon.
“We will continue with that collaboration into the future to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve.”
Amazon is working with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the government on the reintroduction of delivery drones, which will be able to deliver packages weighing up to five pounds (approximately 2.2kg) in one hour or less.
Frederic Laugere, head of innovation advisory services at the CAA, added: “Exploring the options of how drones can be safely and successfully incorporated into more of the UK’s airspace is key.
“It is vital that projects such as this take place to feed into the overall knowledge and experiences that will soon enable drones to be operating beyond the line of sight of their pilot on a day-to-day basis, while also still allowing safe and equitable use of the air by other users.”
In addition to the new delivery sites, Prime Air will introduce the new MK30 drone design, which is quieter, smaller, and lighter, than previous models.
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