The Drones Are Coming: Amazon To Begin Drone Delivery Trials Abroad

Amazon revealed its drone delivery plans back in 2013 but difficulty conducting real-world trials have made progress slow moving.

(Image credit: Amazon)
(Image credit: Amazon)

This isn't the first time we've reported that Amazon is testing their drone delivery service. Though, they've had some hiccups along the way.

More recently, however, Amazon has found a friend to aid them with getting the Prime Air delivery service moving.

A new partnership with the U.K. government will allow them to commence trials using its autonomous drones. The agreement enables Amazon to test out the technologies behind its drone delivery service, with hopes of soon coming to fruition.

Here in the U.S., things have been slow moving. Amazon revealed its drone plans back in 2013, but with US regulators giving them very little room to move when it comes to conducting real-world trials, their hands have been tied.

Implementing the service on any scale, without trials, is not plausible.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced revamped laws around commercial flight last month, but they were of little to no value to companies in the drone delivery game. It is still illegal for pilots to fly drones out of line of sight, to fly them over populated areas and to operate more than one at a time.

(Image credit: Amazon)(Image credit: Amazon)

On the other hand, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will allow Amazon to fly its drones beyond line of sight in both rural and suburban areas. They're also allowing one person to operate multiple autonomous drones, and they can even test out the sensors to see how well they can stop the drones from, well, crashing into things (like other drones, for instance).

The trials will aid the UK government in developing rules around using drones and will push the technology closer to a safe and large-scale roll out.

"These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach," said Tim Johnson, CAA Policy Director.

But the U.K. isn't the first to allow Amazon to perform drone delivery trials. About a year ago, around the same time that Amazon approached the U.K. government, rumors leaked that Amazon was already testing its drones at a secret site in British Columbia, Canada.

I think it's safe to say Amazon isn't going to let U.S. regulations, or any regulations for that matter, get in the way of their plans to get the Prime Air delivery service off the ground.

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