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Amazon announces it will recommence drone deliveries in the UK in 2024
19 October 2023, 08:54
The retail giant, which already runs delivery drones in Texas and California, intends to utilise the technology at one site in the UK.
Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery system is to expand to the UK in late 2024, the technology giant has confirmed.
The US company said it would begin integrating drones into deliveries from some of its same-day delivery sites, including one site in the UK – with the location to be confirmed in the coming months.
The rollout is part of an expansion of drone deliveries within the company’s retail business, which will also see it be introduced in Italy and expanded to a third state in the US – drone deliveries already operate in California and Texas.
Amazon previously ran a short trial of an earlier version of the Prime Air drone delivery system in Cambridgeshire in 2016.
Amazon said that it would no longer use standalone Prime Air drone delivery centres, but would integrate drones into its existing delivery network.
“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.
“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.
“We will continue with that collaboration into the future to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve.”
The US tech giant said it had been working with the UK Government and aviation authorities on the introduction of the technology to UK airspace.
The announcement came alongside the unveiling the company’s latest drone for deliveries – the MK30 – which Amazon says can fly twice as far as previous Prime Air models, is quieter, and able to fly in more diverse weather conditions.
The aviation minister, Baroness Vere, said: “Amazon’s announcement today is a fantastic example of Government and industry coming together to achieve our shared vision for commercial drones to be commonplace in the UK by 2030.
“Not only will this help boost the economy, offering consumers even more choice while helping keep the environment clean with zero emission technology, but it will also build our understanding how to best use the new technology safely and securely.”
Frederic Laugere, head of innovation advisory services at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said: “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.”