Amazon has made its first commercial delivery via drone with no human involvement, delivering to a single single fulfilment centre in Cambridge, UK.
The first customer received drone-delivered Prime Air order in just 13 minutes (which isn’t as impressive as it sounds as the recipient was just next door to the Amazon testing site.)
Amazon has been testing drone deliveries for three years now, even having to move to the UK to keep it going once the FAA changed its UAV guidelines.
The company released a video of its first fully autonomous drone delivery, which happened on December 7.
Initially, just two Amazon customers have been invited into the Prime Air trial, and they both live near the fulfilment centre.
The customers can request drone delivery seven days a week, but only during daylight hours, and the weather has to be within certain parameters.
Amazon’s US billionaire founder Jeff Bezos confirmed the delivery in a tweet earlier in the week and posted a video.
He wrote: ‘First-ever AmazonPrimeAir customer delivery is in the books. 13 min – click to delivery.’
The first Prime Air delivery was an Amazon Fire TV stick and a bag of popcorn.
How does it work?
Prime customers who qualify for drone delivery can select the option during checkout (just like they would two-day shopping), then they print off a QR code supplied by Amazon, and stick it outside their house, on the lawn, like signage.
The QR code acts like a beacon, allowing the drone to find the customer’s delivery location and safely land.
Amazon Prime Air is in a beta in the UK right now. According to The Wall Street Journal , Amazon said it will expand its test from two customers in a roughly 5-square-mile area of farmland to “dozens” more in the coming months.