Online marketplace Amazon has announced that customers in Lockeford, California, will be among the first to receive Prime Air drone deliveries in the USA later this year.
Lockeford residents will help shape the future of the service by providing feedback about Prime Air, with drones delivering packages in their backyards. Once onboarded, customers in Lockeford will see Prime Air-eligible items on Amazon. They will place an order as they normally would and receive an estimated arrival time with a status tracker for their order. For these deliveries, the drone will fly to the designated delivery location, descend to the customer’s backyard, and hover at a safe height. It will then safely release the package and rise back up to altitude.
Heath Flora, California State assemblyman, said, “Lockeford residents will soon have access to one of the world’s leading delivery innovations. It’s exciting that Amazon will be listening to the feedback of the San Joaquin County community to inform the future development of this technology.”
Amazon is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials in Lockeford to obtain permissions and conduct the deliveries.
The Prime Air drones will make use of a sophisticated sense-and-avoid system that will enable operations without visual observers and enable drones to operate at greater distances while safely avoiding other aircraft, people, pets and obstacles.
According to Amazon, Prime Air is one of only three drone-delivery companies to earn a FAA air carrier certificate, which is required to operate drones using these advanced capabilities.