Amazon’s Prime Air drone deliveries to start in 2024
Amazon is set to recommence its Prime Air drone deliveries in the UK in 2024.
The US company said it would begin integrating drones into deliveries from some of its same-day delivery sites, including one UK site – the location will be confirmed “in the coming months”.
Amazon previously ran a short trial of an earlier version of the Prime Air drone delivery system in Cambridgeshire in 2016. The company, which has an R&D office in the Station Road area, has since dropped the idea of standalone Prime Air drone delivery centres in favour of integrating 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,” said a spokesperson.
“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 announcement came alongside the unveiling of 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.
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.”
Amazon is also trialling humanoid robots in its warehouses as the US tech giant looks to automate more of its operations.
The company said it was testing a new robot called Digit at a warehouse in Texas, which has arms and legs and can move, grasp and handle items in a similar fashion to a human.