Amazon Will 'Immediately' Begin Testing Delivery Drones In The U.K.

Still waiting for laws to change in the United States

Amazon's Prime Air drone is testing in Canada, U.K., and Denmark.
Amazon's Prime Air drone is testing in Canada, U.K., and Denmark.Amazon

Amazon, the massive online retailer likely responsible for half of the things you accidentally ordered at 2 in the morning, wants to test delivery drones. They want to test delivery drones so badly, they made a concept video in December 2013, and rather than just doing a one-off stunt, they followed through, going through multiple versions of the drone and even patenting streetlamp drone recharging posts. The biggest obstacle to these drone tests? For Amazon, it might be the legal limits imposed by the FAA. So Amazon's going abroad instead, partnering with the British government.

Under the partnership, Britain’s aviation regulator will let Amazon test several aspects of drone technology — such as piloting the machines beyond the line of sight of its operators — that the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States has not permitted. The tests, which are an important sign of confidence in Britain after its historic vote last month to leave the European Union, are to begin immediately. “The U.K. is a leader in enabling drone innovation,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global innovation policy and communications, said in a statement. “This announcement strengthens our partnership with the U.K. and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the U.K. and elsewhere around the world.”

Amazon's struggles with the FAA most famously came to a head in spring of 2015, when the FAA finally granted Amazon permission to test drones, as long as Amazon changed everything about how they wanted to fly them. Shortly after, Amazon responded that it had already decided to test its drones abroad instead, in Canada and Denmark. With the new UK partnership, they're expanding on that promise.