Amazon Prime Air to Expand Drone Delivery to Europe
Amazon announced plans to extend its Prime Air drone delivery service to Italy, the UK, and an unnamed third U.S. city by the end of 2024. The expansion comes after nearly a year of successful drone deliveries in the U.S., where packages weighing up to five pounds have been delivered in under an hour.
Alongside the expansion, Amazon unveiled its new MK30 drone, which is lighter, quieter, and smaller than previous models. The MK30 drone can fly twice as far as its predecessors, allowing for deliveries to customers located farther from Amazon’s fulfillment centers. The drone is also equipped with sense-and-avoid technology to identify and navigate around obstacles.
Amazon will integrate drone deliveries into its existing fulfillment network, deploying drones from some Same-Day Delivery sites. Items such as household products, everyday essentials, beauty items, and office/tech supplies will be available to be delivered by a drone.
“The integration aims to help Amazon streamline the retail experience, create a safer and more sustainable delivery model, and deliver products more quickly,” the company stated. In Italy and the UK, drones will initially operate out of one fulfillment center in each location, with plans for expansion.
Amazon is working closely with national and international regulators to ensure the safe and scalable operation of its drone delivery service. “We have committed the necessary time and resources to build a safe and scalable service,” Amazon said.
Pierluigi Di Palma, President of Italy’s National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), commented, “Italy’s experience will be an inspiration and support for safe operations in the rest of Europe.”
Once available, eligible Amazon customers can opt for drone delivery for thousands of items weighing five pounds or less. Amazon aims to make drone delivery available in more cities and countries, focusing on “bringing ultra-fast drone delivery to as many Amazon customers as our technology can safely enable.”
“Amazon’s announcement today is a fantastic example of Government and industry coming together to achieve our shared vision for commercial drones to be commonplace in the UK by 2030. Not only will this help boost the economy, offering consumers even more choice while helping keep the environment clean with zero emission technology, but it will also build our understanding how to best use the new technology safely and securely,” said Aviation Minister Baroness Vere, in a statement.
Amazon also shared a cool video detailing how it can now deliver prescription medications with drone delivery in College Station, Texas, within 60 minutes:
Back in 2016, Amazon tested its Prime Air drone delivery service in the UK. In 2015, Amazon tested its drone delivery service in Canada, despite the service not being offered here.
It’s unclear if and when Prime Air drone delivery service will ever make its way to Canada. But the concept is pretty amazing for those cities that have the service.