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

The service is scheduled to start later this year.

amazon drone in the sky
Image: Amazon

Amazon has been at work on bringing 30-minute drone deliveries to fruition since 2013. Former CEO Jeff Bezos hoped the service would launch in 2015. Amazon didn’t make that window, but the ecommerce giant now says its Prime Air service is almost ready.

Amazon customers in Lockeford, California will begin seeing Prime Air deliveries later this year. The company published a blog post lining out the specifics, which involve a ton of Amazon UAVs working their way to customers’ homes while carrying “thousands” of items.

It sounds cool, until an overzealous neighbor shoots one down, with your package in tow.

But that’s the kind of feedback Amazon is (probably) looking for with this test program. The retailer is looking to ask those who use the service what they think about it to help them “create a service that will safely scale to meet the needs of customers everywhere.”

It’s been a long time coming, though. Amazon offered some reasoning for why Prime Air has taken so long to deploy (aside from multiple drone crashes). The company states it has spent about a decade working on a drone service with an “industry-leading” navigation system.

It’s been a long road with plenty of setbacks. And there are still a few roadblocks in the way. Amazon has to earn Part 135 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before it can begin launching its drones.

Though it’s been quite some time since the Prime Air project was announced, it’s on the cusp of becoming realized. If all goes well, it should interesting to see a fleet of drones delivering packages to Amazon customers in California. First there, and then…the world?

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