Online retail giant Amazon is teaming up with the UK Government to start testing flying drones – also known as unmanned aerial vehicles – to deliver small parcels.
Amazon’s is stumping up the money for the programme, which will look at the best way to allow drones to fly safely in UK airspace. It says this could eventually see packages delivered within 30 minutes of ordering them online.
Parcels are likely to weigh less than 2.2kg (5lbs) – which is is reportedly 80-90 per cent of the things that Amazon sells.
Amazon says it is conducting the trials in Britain, because the regulations are more flexible than in other countries and it is aiming for them to be operational by 2020, according to reports.
Government ministers want to look into the opportunity for businesses to start using the technology in future, but they will still have to assure the public having automated drones flying is safe and won’t invade people’s privacy.
In Germany, Deutsche Post has said that in the future, drone deliveries will no longer be a niche business and will be used more widely.
The government says the work will help it draw up new rules and regulations for the future, so all companies can take advantage of drone technology, which it says could eventually be worth billions.