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Amazon to relaunch delivery drones in the UK next year

Amazon will relaunch its delivery drones in the UK next year, the shopping giant has confirmed.

The company said it will begin using the unmanned, airborne vehicles for distributing goods from some of its same-day delivery sites – one of which will be in the UK.

No location has yet been revealed.

It’s part of the expansion of the drones within the retail side of the business, which will also be rolled out in Italy and a third state in the US, on top of California and Texas, where the drones already operate.

The company previously trialled an early version of the Prime Air delivery system in Cambridgeshire in 2016.

However, Amazon said it will no longer be using the standalone centres, and instead will integrate the drones into its existing network.

A statement from the company 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.”

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It added it has been working with the government and aviation authorities to reintroduce the drones into the UK airspace.

Amazon revealed the latest drone it will use for deliveries, known as the MK30. It said it is quieter, and can fly twice as far and in more diverse weather.

The aviation minister, Baroness 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 of how to best use the new technology safely and securely.”

Frederic Laugere, head of innovation advisory services at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 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.”


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