Amazon has announced that it is launching Prime Air drone deliveries in the UK, Italy, and a third location in the USA, by late 2024. The names of the specific cities will be unveiled in the coming months.
Prime Air will also integrate drone deliveries into Amazon’s existing fulfilment network, deploying from same-day delivery sites.
In California and Texas, Prime Air has been using drones to deliver packages weighing up to 5lb (2.2kg) in one hour or less, for almost a year.
David Carbon, vice president of Amazon’s Prime Air, said, “As part of our continued efforts to innovate for customers, we are excited to announce the expansion of Prime Air delivery internationally, for the first time outside the US.
“We have been delivering packages by drone for almost a year in California and in Texas. We have built a safe, reliable delivery service and have partnered very closely with regulators and communities. We will continue with that collaboration into the future to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve.”
In addition to the new delivery sites, Prime Air is unveiling the new MK30 drone design, which is quieter, smaller and lighter, than previous models.
UK Aviation Minister Baroness Charlotte Sarah Emily Vere said, “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.”
Frederic Laugere, head of innovation advisory services at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said, “Exploring the options of how drones can be safely and successfully incorporated into more of the UK’s airspace is key. It is vital that projects such as this take place to feed into the overall knowledge and experiences that will soon enable drones to be operating beyond the line of sight of their pilot on a day-to-day basis, while also still allowing safe and equitable use of the air by other users.”