Amazon announced Monday a new partnership with the British government to begin the development of a drone delivery system of parcels, the company said in a statement.
Support for the development of drone delivery has come from Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, allowing the online retailer to experiment with drone usage “beyond the line of sight” in rural areas as well as suburban areas.
The partnership, which the British government also hopes to use as testing ground for future policy, will also allow Amazon to test sensor equipment that will help drones identify and avoid obstacles, and scenarios in which one person manages multiple highly-automated drones at the same time.
The company intends to eventually make drones part of “Amazon Prime Air” which would deliver certain prime customers packages of up to 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.
“The UK is a leader in enabling drone innovation. We’ve been investing in Prime Air research and development here for quite some time,” said Paul Misener, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Innovation Policy and Communications. The partnership will bring the company “closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world.”
The drone program, Misener said, will “improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly growing industry, and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand.”