Amazon announced on Friday that it will soon begin making drone deliveries in College Station, Texas.
Amazon said On Friday, it will begin delivering packages to shoppers by drone in College Station, Texas later this year.
The east Texas city is the second place to see the launch of Prime Air drone deliveries. Last month, Amazon announced it would deliver packages by drone later this year to the northern California town of Lockeford.
Amazon said it would work with Texas A&M University, located in College Station, to deploy the drones. Amazon shoppers in Lockeford and College Station will be able to receive free drone delivery on thousands of everyday items, Amazon said.
The company said its drones are capable of delivering packages up to five pounds in less than an hour. Prime Air drones can fly up to 50 miles per hour and up to an altitude of 400 feet, Amazon said.
Its drones fly to a designated delivery location, descend into shoppers’ backyards and hover at a safe height, the company said. The device releases the package, ascends to altitude and returns to base, Amazon said.
Amazon’s drone delivery program has been slow since 2013 when founder and then-CEO Jeff Bezos says the company was testing the technology and promised that the half-hour expedition with Prime Air drones would arrive as soon as 2018.
In the years since, Amazon has made progress in that effort, launching an updated version of its Prime Air delivery drone in 2019 at its re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. At the time, Jeff Wilke, who was Amazon’s consumer boss, proclaimed that drones would be used “within months” to deliver packages.
Amazon reached a key milestone in August 2020 when the Federal Aviation Administration granted it permission to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones.
But the drone delivery program has also reportedly experienced some setbacks, such as high turnover and many accidentsincluding one that sparked a 20-acre bushfire in eastern Oregon, according to Business Insider.
Amazon spokesperson Av Zammit said Business Insider’s report referred to events that occurred during routine testing operations in a controlled, unpopulated area using a model drone. since removed. Amazon expects these types of events to occur in test scenarios, and no one has been injured as a result of these thefts, he added. Each test is performed in accordance with applicable regulations, Zammit said.
“College Station package delivery operations will not be experimental operations,” Zammit said in a statement. “Instead, they will be conducted under an FAA-issued Air Operator’s Certificate that allows for commercial deliveries and shows that our comprehensive processes meet the FAA’s high safety bar.”
Amazon said it does not share revenue information. Prime Air continues to hire and retain talent, the company added.
LOOK: Amazon gets FAA approval to operate a fleet of delivery drones