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It’s official: Amazon Prime Air will take off by the end of 2022, nearly a decade since we first heard about plans for Amazon drone delivery.
The company first announced their intention to use drones for Amazon deliveries back in 2013, and while it’s taken longer than Jeff Bezos and Co. would’ve liked, we’ll finally start seeing this vision become reality in the middle of California, beginning late 2022.
So when will drones start delivering our Prime goodies? When will the skies be filled with Amazon drones? Here’s what you need to know:
Prime Air will launch in California before expanding to other parts of the country.
It looks like residents of Lockeford, California — in the geographical middle of the state, a population of 4,000 — will get the first taste of what Amazon drone delivery will grow into.
The feedback received from this first launch will help shape what Prime Air will look like for California as a whole, and then eventually the rest of the country.
Amazon’s latest target for Prime Air is most likely going to be in College Station, Texas. The launch seems to be a go with John Sharp, Texas A&M’s chancellor expressing excitement for the university to help with the development. College Station residents will know July 14 if drones will be flying their way soon.
Shoppers will be able to filter “Prime Air eligible” items.
When Prime Air is more widespread, Prime members will be able to filter products to see items that are eligible for Amazon drone delivery.. After an order is placed, they will be able to track their real-time order status.
When the Prime Air drone reaches its location, it will hover at a safe height and gently lower the package before returning to the Amazon hub.
If you don’t have a backyard you’ll be out of luck for now. Prime Air will only deliver to homes with a backyard that will accommodate the drone.
Don’t expect these drones to deliver anything heavier than 5 lbs.
That’s not a big deal, though, since most of Amazon’s deliveries already weigh less than 5 lbs.
Amazon’s latest drone models can fly up to 7.5 miles away from the hub (15 miles round-trip) and carry those five-pounds-or-less packages.
So this means, if you’ve ordered something and it’s available in a nearby warehouse, it could be delivered by drone!
Oh, you didn’t know Walmart has drones too? Yep, they do. Or, will by 2023. We’ve also got everything you need to know about Walmart drone delivery in our guide.
Prime Air’s drones will have a sense-and-avoid system to allow Amazon to cover more delivery areas.
Most drone delivery services need a pilot to make sure the drone won’t run into any obstacles along the way, but Amazon has built a smart drone automatically detects if there are things in its flight or landing path.
This is all part of Amazon’s goal of making 30-minute deliveries.
Two-day delivery and same-day grocery pickup just isn’t enough anymore. Gotta keep pushing to fend off challengers like Walmart.
Walmart, the US Postal Service and Google are getting in on drone delivery, too.
Truth is, Walmart drone delivery might go nationwide before Amazon’s. They’re rolling out some multi-state plans this year.
United Parcel Service Flight Forward and the Google-affiliated delivery service Wing have also been given the go-ahead to test drone deliveries in the U.S.
The FAA is working on some new regulations — including a possible new air-traffic control system for low-flying drones — to keep up with the innovation.