Amazon has announced the upcoming expansion of its Prime Air drone delivery system to Italy, the UK, and an additional U.S. city by late 2024. The specifics regarding the cities in the U.S. and overseas will be disclosed in the upcoming months.
While Amazon has been operating drone deliveries in select U.S. locations for nearly a year, delivering packages up to five pounds within an hour, this will mark a significant expansion of the service. Eligible Amazon customers in these new regions will be able to opt for drone delivery, with available items including household products, office supplies, and beauty items that weigh five pounds or less.
Alongside this expansion, Prime Air is set to introduce its new MK30 drone design. This new model boasts improvements over its predecessors. It has an extended range, allowing for deliveries to customers further from Amazon's fulfillment networks. Furthermore, the MK30 offers a quieter operation, making it less disruptive, and is designed to operate under diverse weather conditions. Like its predecessors, the MK30 will feature sense-and-avoid technology, ensuring it can identify and navigate around unexpected obstacles.
The announcement also highlighted a significant integration of drone deliveries into Amazon's broader delivery network. Drones will now deploy from selected Same-Day Delivery sites. In the U.S., these drones will operate out of Same-Day Delivery stations, optimizing for products that align with the drone's delivery capabilities, like medicines and batteries. This integration aims to enhance Amazon's retail experience, promoting both sustainability and speed in their delivery process.
As for future plans, Amazon is committed to expanding its drone delivery services. They aim to develop drones capable of thousands of flights, delivering millions of packages annually. Their goal is to extend ultra-fast drone delivery to as many customers as their technology permits.
To ensure the smooth introduction and operation of these drone delivery services, Amazon has collaborated with regulators and governments globally. In Italy, both the National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) and the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider (ENAV) expressed their support for Amazon's expansion. The UK Civil Aviation Authority and Aviation Minister Baroness Vere also provided statements lauding the initiative as a promising step towards incorporating drones into daily delivery operations by 2030.