Amazon has been given the green light to test deliveries using drones in the UK.
The Civil Aviation Authority has agreed to allow the online retail giant to experiment with a ‘Prime Air plan’ which would seek to deliver products to customers using the unmanned airborne vehicles within 30 minutes.
“A cross-Government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority 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,” Amazon said in a statement.
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy and communications, said the UK “had been a world leader in enabling drone innovation”.
“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,” he said.
Amazon has been developing drone technology at a research base in Cambridge and last year unveiled a second prototype.
The CAA said the experiments could benefit the nation’s approach to integrating drones into air traffic.
“We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system,” said the CAA’s policy director Tim Johnson.
“These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach.”
Amazon initially sought permission to run drone tests in the US in 2014 while its rivals are also exploring the potential of the technology.