Join Transform 2021 this July 12-16. Register for the AI event of the year.

Amazon today said that it’s gotten permission from the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority and other groups to start running tests in the domain of delivering products using unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones.

“A cross-Government team supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has provided Amazon with permissions to explore three key 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,” Amazon said in a statement.

The context for these experiments is the Prime Air plan Amazon has devised to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes of the time that a customer places an order.

Amazon first sought regulatory approval to test out this type of activity in the U.S. in 2014.

It sounds like Amazon would not be the only organization to benefit from these new tests. They could also benefit the U.K. government.

“We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system,” Tim Johnson, the Civil Aviation Authority’s policy director, is quoted as saying. “These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach.”

In addition to Amazon, FedEx and UPS have also shown interest in drone delivery.


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member