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  July 29th, 2016 | Written by

Amazon and UK Government Aim for the Sky with Partnership on Drones

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  • The UK is charting a path for drone technology that will benefit consumers, industry and society.
  • Amazon-UK work will expand knowledge on how drones can be used in the logistics industry.
  • Tests by Amazon will help inform UK government's policy and future approach.

Amazon has announced a partnership with the government of the United Kingdom to explore the steps needed to make the delivery of parcels by small drones a reality, allowing Amazon to trial new methods of testing its delivery systems.

A cross-government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has provided Amazon with permissions to explore three key innovations: 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.

“The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation,” said Paul Misener, an Amazon vice president. “We’ve been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time.” Amazon Prime Air is a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages up to five pounds to customers in 30 minutes or less using small drones.

“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,” Misener added.

This groundbreaking work will help Amazon and the UK 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.

“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.”

As the UK’s aviation safety regulator, the CAA will be fully involved in this work to explore the potential for safe use of drones beyond line of sight. The outcomes of these tests will help inform the development of future policy and regulation in this area.

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