The UK Government will allow Amazon to trial previously banned applications for commercial drones, including the use of drones beyond line of sight.
A cross-Government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved the e-commerce company to explore three innovations: beyond line of sight operations in rural and suburban areas, testing sensor performance to make sure the drones can identify and avoid obstacles, and flights where one person operates multiple highly-automated 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. “This announcement strengthens our partnership with the UK and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world.”
This work will help Amazon and the Government understand how drones can be used safely and reliably in the logistics industry. It will also help identify what operating rules and safety regulations will be needed to help move the drone industry forward. As the UK’s aviation safety regulator, the CAA will be fully involved in this work to explore the potential for safe use of drones beyond line of sight. The outcomes of these tests will help inform the development of future policy and regulation in this area.
“We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system,” said Tim Johnson, CAA Policy Director. “These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach.”
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