Amazon [IRDX RAMZ] has this month made its first delivery by drone – in the UK, its chief executive Jeff Bezos has said.
Bezos today tweeted the news that the delivery had taken just 13 minutes from click to the parcel arriving. The flight took place on December 7 in the Cambridge area.
In a video, Amazon, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said the first Prime Air delivery was part of a private trial to customers in the area. Customers taking part in the trial can choose from a range of thousands of items for delivery by what Amazon says is an entirely autonomous drone.
“For this initial trial customers can choose from the latest tech gadgets to their dog’s favourite biscuits,” Amazon said in the video. We will use the data gathered during this data test and the feedback gathered by customers to expand the private trial to more customers over time.”
The trial initially involves just two customers living over a hill from the Prime Air fulfillment centre, but Amazon says the number of people who can use the service will expand steadily over time. It aims to use the drones to enable routine deliveries within 30 minutes of the order being placed.
The world-first delivery has taken place in the UK less than six months after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) took the step of working with Amazon to trial the use of drones to deliver small parcels weighing up to 2.3kg. It granted permission that went beyond the US’s Federal Air Authority, which insisted testing must be in the line of sight.
It also comes just weeks after Just Eat made the first robot deliveries of takeaways. That delivery, made in London, put a Starship Technologies robot through its paces as it delivered falafel in Greenwich.
Our view: Back in July we said that the CAA’s decision to enable this technology had the potential to make a big difference in making drone delivery a reality. Now it has. The current trial sees deliveries being made very close to the fulfillment centre. Expect there to be more bumps on the road – or in the air – before the use of this technology grows to any real scale.
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