The online retailer conducted its trial in Cambridge, England
By NACS Online
This week, Amazon.com made a successful commercial delivery via drone in a rural part of the United Kingdom, The Wall Street Journal reports. The delivery of a Fire TV video-streaming device and popcorn traveled a few miles to its destination in 13 minutes.
The company released a video that showed the launch, monitoring platform where Amazon employees followed the takeoff, and landing pad on the customer’s yard. The delivery marks the start of Prime Air after several years of red tape. The initiative aims to delivery packages within half an hour.
“First-ever #AmazonPrimeAir customer delivery is in the books,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted after the drone dropped its package safely. Through a partnership with the U.K. government, Amazon had been exploring the possibility of drone delivery since last July.
Amazon will continue testing Prime Air within a five-square-mile area to dozens of customers seven days a week during daylight hours, as long as the weather permits. Items ordered for drone delivery cannot weigh more than five pounds. Customers within the test perimeters use an app to place orders.
Rural settings challenge delivery companies and online retailers because of the higher cost and inefficiency of bringing goods to addresses not close together like urban areas. “It’s an interesting logistical concept, but not particularly viable in an urban environment,” said Ivan Hofmann, a transportation consultant and former FedEx executive.
Last month, Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand successfully delivered a pizza via drone. Earlier this year, 7-Eleven and Flirtey completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence in the United States, in Nevada. Google’s parent company also delivered Chipotle burritos on Virginia Tech’s campus this fall.