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Amazon delivery drones keep crashing

In the span of 13 months, eight drones have crashed.

Prime Air Drone
Image: Amazon

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As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. And that seems to be the case with Amazon delivery drones. According to federal crash reports and internal documents obtained by Business Insider, at least eight drones have crashed in a span of 13-months.

Adding insult to injury, one of those drone crashes was responsible for an acres-wide brush fire from crashing back down to earth after falling 160 feet last June. The most recent crash was reported in February earlier this year in Oregon

We use a closed, private facility for our flight testing to ensure we are operating safely even when we push our drones to their limits,” an Amazon spokesperson tells KnowTechie in an email. “In this case, the fire was contained with no damage to people or structures, we reported it to the FAA as required, and we used the learnings to keep improving.”

READ MORE: Snapchat unveils a $230 self-flying drone called Pixy

For the uninitiated, Amazon is gearing up for Prime deliveries via drones. The program, Prime Air, would potentially allow the company to make deliveries by drones.

According to Insider, the company conducted more than 2,300 drone test flights last year. In an email to KnowTechie, Amazon points out the drones that crashed were not customer deliveries, but instead, experimental test flights.

amazon prime air drone
Image: Amazon

READ MORE: Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service is taking flight in California

So, why are these drones crashing? As Insider notes, the federal crash reports redact Amazon’s name, but the publication was able to confirm some of the mishaps in its own investigation.

Reasons reportedly include faulty propellers, motor, and software glitches. Thankfully, no one has been injured in tests conducted by the company.

“Safety is integral to everything that we do at Amazon,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

“We carry out experimental flights in a closed, private facility to test our drones or aspects of the technology we’ve installed within it. We test our drones and technology to its limit in this safe environment, we learn from the results, and continue to improve. This process allows us to ensure the drone we use for delivery is safe.” 

To be fair, eight reported crashes out of 2,300 test flights doesn’t sound all that bad. I’ve owned a few drones since 2014 and I can confidentely say that I’ve crashed them at least six times.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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