Did you ever think you’d see the day when drones delivered your parcels? Well that day could be sooner than you think, with ecommerce giant Amazon unveiling plans to test it’s prototype same-day delivery drones in the UK. Although the online retailer is currently awaiting approval to conduct outdoor tests in the US, in the UK drones of less than 20kg can be used in the operator’s line of site, providing they have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Whilst the Civil Aviation Authority bans drones within 150 metres of built-up areas, there are a number of grey areas regarding their regulation; with the organisation admitting that it has few established operating guidelines compared with manned and model aircrafts.
According to a report by the University of Birmingham Policy Commission, the use of drones in the UK has raised a number of safety, security and privacy concerns. People are worried that terror groups, criminals and paparazzi, will use them and believe the CAA needs to do more to safeguard UK privacy.
Amazon is currently planning to test drones in Cambridge, the home to Evi Technologies, which Amazon acquired back in 2012. They are planning to set up a lab to focus on their drone delivery service, Prime Air and have already started advertising roles for flight operations engineers and research scientists.
Prime Air is not the only project Amazon has been working on with the aim of speeding up deliveries. The company recently introduced it’s same day Pass My Parcel collection service in the UK, partnering with five hundred newsagents and convenience stores across the country.
However Amazon is keen to introduce drone delivery as a way of speeding up deliveries and remaining a step ahead of competitors. Though in order to do this, the company will first need to overcome several challenges, which start with developing safety systems to prevent drones from crashing into each other and ensuring they do not affect people on the ground.
It is believed that developing and testing drone delivery could take several years, but we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this technology!
Image credit: Christopher S. Penn