Amazon Prime Air drones free to fly in the UK

Amazon has got permission from the UK Government and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly their drones and start testing deliveries.

Amazon have previously been hampered by governments and regulations around the world limiting how they could fly their drones including the requirement for a drone to be within line of sight of the operator.

The significant changes in the UK are that they can now fly their drones safely further than line of sight, test sensors to see if the drones crash into things like people, telegraph poles, electricity cables and the like and see how many automated drones one person can be in charge of without losing control.

The long term aim for Amazon is to get deliveries to customers within 30 minutes of ordering. It all sounds futuristic with the drones buzzing around the skies, but in reality the last hop by drone is the least important part of the process.

For Amazon to deliver within 30 minutes they’ve got to have stock in a warehouse near enough to your house for a drone to reach you in just ten or twenty minutes. That’s a lot of warehouses to cover the country and a lot of products to be held at each location. In reality it’ll always be a limited product set available for immediate delivery with everything else still on an overnight express service.

Amazon say that this ground-breaking work will help Amazon and the Government understand how drones can be used safely and reliably in the logistics industry. It will also help identify what operating rules and safety regulations will be needed to help move the drone industry forward.

The CAA say that “These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach” as they explore the potential for safe use of drones beyond line of sight.