California will be the first state in the country to receive Amazon Prime items delivered by drones.
The company announced Monday it will launch its drone delivery program in a small community in the state of California.
Residents in Lockeford, near Lodi, will have products delivered by drone to their backyards, according to the Amazon press release.
The business also hinted that it has been working for over a decade to deliver things to consumers fast, cost-effectively, and, most crucially: safely, in less than an hour.
It remains to be seen how and when it will start doing this. According to the press release, the drone service, which will be dubbed Amazon Prime Air, will begin conducting remote-controlled air deliveries later this year.
Amazon says they are collaborating with the FAA and government officials in the unincorporated community to develop a sophisticated and industry-leading sense-and-avoid system that will enable operations without visual observers.
The system will also allow their drones to operate at greater distances while safely and reliably avoiding other aircraft, people, pets, and obstacles.
Algorithms for Amazon’s drones will allow them to recognize fixed things like chimneys as well as moving objects like other aircraft, and modify the course to avoid them.
The drone will select a tiny region free of people, animals, and obstructions as it descends to make deliveries.
Customers with Amazon Prime in this Californian community will see Prime Air eligible goods on Amazon and may make an order as usual.
According to Amazon, the customers will get an anticipated delivery date and a progress tracker for their items.
The drone will fly to the delivery destination, then land on the customer’s property and hover at a safe distance.
It will then release the cargo securely and return to altitude.
What things will be eligible for Amazon Prime Air delivery is unknown, although they will need to weigh up to 5 pounds and be the size of a shoebox.
The inventory of drone-delivery items will be in the thousands, according to Amazon.
Amazon said it would develop and extend its drone delivery program based on input from the residents where the program will start.
Why did they choose this community to test the program? Amazon has been tight-lipped about it.
It does, however, mention that the community is a state historical site, and was home to an early aviator named Weldon B. Cooke, who constructed and piloted aircraft in the early 1900s.
The community is now noted for its vineyards, wineries, and ranchland and it’s 2 hours away from San Francisco and 5 hours away from Los Angeles.
According to Amazon, its people, at least those with Amazon accounts, will play a pioneering role in the future of drone delivery.