Amazon Drone Makes First British DeliveryEngineering360 News Desk | December 15, 2016
Amazon says it completed its first delivery by drone, in what the global online retailer hopes will become a trend in automated shipments by air.
The delivery to a customer near Cambridge, England, was announced in a tweet by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
"First-ever #AmazonPrimeAir customer delivery is in the books. 13 min—click to delivery," he wrote of the December 7 order.
A quadcopter drone delivered an Amazon Fire TV box and a bag of popcorn to a customer identified only as Richard B.
Amazon has been testing drone deliveries in the U.S. and elsewhere. It has complained that the regulatory environment in the United States for these automated deliveries is more cumbersome.
Amazon is not the only group working on drone deliveries. Google parent Alphabet has a project known as Wing. Some reports say U.S. retailer Wal-Mart is also studying drone deliveries.
In the U.S., the first commercial drone delivery was made in July 2016 when convenience store 7-Eleven, with drone startup Flirtey, transported a chicken sandwich, hot coffee and donuts to a customer near Reno, Nev.
Project Wing announced plans this year to deliver burritos in partnership with U.S. food chain Chipotle to students at Virginia Tech University, one of the campuses where drone research is being conducted.
U.S. officials earlier in 2016 announced the first steps in drone regulations, covering applications such as news gathering and commercial flights over populated areas.
But the rules stopped short of allowing some long-sought applications, including delivery of goods in populated areas.
Amazon received British approval in 2016 for flying drones that are no longer within sight of their operators in rural and suburban areas; having one person operate several highly automated drones; and testing devices to make the drones able to identify and avoid obstacles.