The first Amazon drone deliveries are finally set to begin in the U.S., after years of delay and disappointment for Jeff Bezos. Amazon customers in Lockeford, California will be the first to receive drone deliveries later this year, according to Reuters, but Amazon’s Prime Air drones have been around since 2016.
Amazon drones first delivered boxes to customers in the UK that year, and the program expanded to countries abroad, such as Germany. The Amazon Prime Air program failed to gain regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the program is now pending local permits only. After nearly a decade, the Amazon drones cleared the hurdles and they’re set to take-off by the end of 2022.
The pilot program won’t be quite as seamless as Amazon Prime customers are used to, though. Drone deliveries are limited to customers with a backyard that’ll accommodate the drones, which can carry a maximum load of up to five pounds.
Amazon will also inspect the landing area for these delivery drones, to make sure the zone is clear. So, the e-commerce company has started reaching out to Lockeford residents, and is scheduling backyard inspections.
I imagine these inspections may even involve interviewing any cats in the area to gauge their hunting abilities. Assuming the cats won’t get hurt, of course, I really can’t wait to see the YouTube videos the Amazon drones might spawn throughout the U.S. of cats doing their thing. And, honestly, could you blame the cats? A low-flying, unintelligent drone with a box that may or may not contain tasty treats is too tempting to pass up.
The Amazon drones, so-called “octocopters,” are beyond-line-of-sight vehicles, which will be controlled remotely. They will actually land and take off like tiny VTOL machines, instead of delivering via winch cables like Google drones. The Amazon drones will take off from a local depot in Lockeforde and travel about 15 miles to make deliveries. Amazon claims the process will take just one hour.
The best news is the delivery drones will not incur any extra charge, since the Amazon Prime Air program is included for Amazon Prime subscribers. Just make sure to tell the cat(s) that any damage to the drones will probably come out of their pocket.