Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Business

Amazon announces first delivery by drone in the England

SEATTLE — Amazon.com says it has delivered its first order via drone to a real customer in the United Kingdom as part of a testing program that could ultimately transform the field of logistics.

The announcement comes three years after CEO Jeff Bezos first unveiled that Amazon was working on dispatching items through the air via flying robots. Bezos himself tweeted the announcement early Wednesday, saying that the first Amazon Prime Air customer delivery was "in the books. 13 min-click to delivery."

According to a video describing the event, the delivery took place on Dec. 7. The video shows a drone gingerly carrying an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn over idyllic fields around Cambridge, England, to a customer's yard

So far there are two customers involved in the trial, but in months Amazon expects to enroll dozens more and eventually intends to expand to hundreds of shoppers. Customers enrolled in the trial get the under-30-minute drone treatment free.

Of course, there are limits: Customers can order packages of up to 5 pounds only, and weather is a factor.

This new step toward widespread drone delivery is important for Amazon, which seeks not only to give its customers the same immediate gratification they get for shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, but also to lower the cost of doing so.

Analysts say that great savings could come from making deliveries via drone, bringing the cost down to a few cents per parcel down from a few dollars, at least when it comes to suburban and rural settings.

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