Amazon’s Prime Air Drone Launches First Deliveries in Lockeford, California, Featuring Industry-Leading Sense-and-Avoid System

In Lockeford, California, Amazon customers will be the first to benefit from Prime Air deliveries, thanks to the company’s receipt of approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for its flying drones in 2020. Commencing later this year, the Prime Air Drone will begin delivering products to the area, representing Amazon’s initial foray into drone deliveries. The company has specified its intention to deliver items via drone directly to residents’ backyards in Lockeford, with their feedback expected to inform the development and refinement of the system. Lockeford was selected due to its historical significance in the aviation industry, being the former home of Weldon B. Cooke, an early aviation pioneer who constructed and flew planes in the early 1900s.

Although other corporations, including Alphabet and Walmart, have previously launched similar drone delivery services, Amazon claims to have created a sophisticated sense-and-avoid system that is unrivaled in the industry. Unlike the drone delivery program offered by Walmart, which currently serves over 4 million customers in the U.S., or Alphabet’s Wing program, which has already been delivering food and other items in Australia, Amazon’s Prime Air Drone will be capable of functioning without the aid of visual observers, and can navigate greater distances while avoiding other obstacles such as people, pets, chimneys, and other aircraft in a reliable and safe manner. In the event that the drone does detect any obstructions, Amazon has assured customers that the device will automatically modify its course in order to steer clear of them.

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