Amazon looks set to launch its largest-ever drone delivery test later this year with some reports suggesting September 2022. This comes after the whole notion of Amazon drone deliveries has gone radio silent for a long time.
If you cast your mind back to 2017 you may remember the patent that was filed for the beehive fulfillment centers. Or what about 2019 at the Amazon MARS conference where they released their new drone design and hinted that deliveries could start “within months”. However, since then, there has been very little to report on the Amazon Prime Air drone delivery front.
During this time other companies have been progressing with their own experiments, tests, and partnerships to look at the use of drones for some capacity in their delivery cycle. Just last week we covered how FedEx was partnering with Elroy Air to utilize drones for their middle mile delivery.
Amazon Aim For 12,000 Test Flights This Year!
It is alleged in a document claimed to have been leaked to Business Insider that Amazon is planning to recruit 1300 test customers and conduct 5000 commercial test deliveries as well as 7000 durability and reliability test flights.
It is believed that this number of test flights is a requirement for the level of FAA approval needed to roll out the drone delivery program to a wider area. Test customers will apparently have access to roughly 3000 products that weigh under 5lbs from the catalog that have been deemed suitable for drone test deliveries.
This comes as last year a test drone delivery was filmed and posted on Reddit which shows a delivery drone referenced as MK27 completing a test in Corvallis Oregon.
What is interesting is the drone doesn’t land to deliver the package but instead drops it from a height thought to be around 6ft in the air which will further limit eligible items from the Amazon delivery drone tests.
Whilst with everything aviation, safety is of the most important concern which is undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the delay in Amazon drone deliveries going mainstream. But the one thing we do know is that when Amazon goes quiet, it rarely means it’s because they aren’t progressing. In actuality, it often means they are growing and progressing rapidly in quiet, ready to launch something revolutionary, just like they did with fulfillment centers.
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