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Amazon heads to UK for new drone delivery tests

by Jacob Kleinman | July 26, 2016July 26, 2016 5:30 pm PDT

Amazon first unveiled Prime Air, its futuristic drone delivery system, back in 2013. A few years later, we’re not much closer to seeing our packages dropped off by autonomous flying machines. This week, the project is taking an important step forward.

The company is set to begin testing new types of drone deliveries in England through a new partnership with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The new program includes drones that fly beyond line of sight in rural and suburban areas. Amazon will also test sensors for identifying and avoiding obstacles, along with a system that allows one person to manage multiple drones at once.

Amazon has already done some testing in the U.S., but it hasn’t been easy. The company previously complained it was taking too long to roll out new regulations, and what the FCC did allow sometimes wasn’t enough. Fortunately, it looks like the UK government may be more willing to accommodate the internet giant.

“The UK is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society,” said Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy and communications Paul Misener.

Amazon Prime Air will theoretically be able to deliver smaller packages (5 pounds or less) in just 30 minutes. We’re still a long way from seeing the service actually launch, but we just got a little closer.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...