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UK government approves Amazon’s drone delivery trials

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The UK government has partnered with Amazon to explore the steps required to make drone parcel deliveries a reality.

According to a statement released by the e-commerce giant, a cross-government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given Amazon permission to explore three key innovations.

Amazon, the statement added, will be able to test beyond line of sight operations in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles, and flights where one person operates multiple highly-automated drones.

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“The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation – we’ve been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time,” said Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of Global Innovation Policy and Communications. “This announcement strengthens our partnership with the UK and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world.”

Through the partnership Amazon and the government will seek to obtain a better understanding of how drones can be used both safely and reliably in the logistics industry. Additionally, both parties will hope to identify what operating rules and safety regulations will be required to help propel the drone industry forward.

“Using small drones for the delivery of parcels will improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly growing industry, and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand,” said Misener. “The UK is charting a path forward for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society.”

Tim Johnson, CAA policy director, concluded: “We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system. These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach.”

 

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