Amazon announced Friday that it will soon begin delivering drones to College Station, Texas.
Amazon said Friday that it will start delivering packages to shoppers by drone in College Station, Texas, later this year.
The east Texas city has become the second location where Prime Air drone deliveries have begun. Last month, Amazon announced that it would be delivering some packages by drone to the Northern California town of Lockford later this year.
Amazon said it will partner with Texas A&M University, located in College Station, to deploy the drones. Amazon shoppers in Lockford and College Station will be able to have thousands of everyday items delivered by drone for free, according to Amazon.
The company said its drones are capable of delivering packages weighing up to five pounds in less than an hour. Prime Air drones can fly up to 50 mph and climb up to 400 feet, according to Amazon.
Its drones fly to a designated delivery location, descend to customers’ backyards and hover at a safe altitude, the company said. The device releases the package, climbs to altitude and returns to base, according to Amazon.
Amazon’s drone delivery program has been slowly developing since 2013, when founder and then-CEO Jeff Bezos said the company was testing the technology and promised half-hour Prime Air drone delivery would arrive in 2018.
Amazon has made some progress on this over the years, debuting an updated version of the Prime Air drone in 2019 at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. At the time, Jeff Wilke, who was Amazon’s consumer boss, announced that drones would be used “within months” to deliver packages.
Amazon reached a key milestone in August 2020 when the Federal Aviation Administration gave it approval to operate a fleet of Prime Air drones.
But the drone delivery program has also reportedly faced some setbacks, such as high turnover and numerous accidents, including one that started a 20-acre brush fire in eastern Oregon, Business Insider reported.
Amazon spokesman Av Zammit said the Business Insider report cited events that occurred during a routine test in a controlled desert area using a drone model that had been brought out of retirement. Amazon expects such events to occur in test scenarios, and no one was injured in those flights, he added. Each test is conducted according to current regulations, Zammit said.
“Package delivery operations in College Station will not be experimental,” Zammit said in a statement. “Instead, they will be conducted under an air carrier certificate issued by the FAA that authorizes commercial deliveries and demonstrates that our comprehensive processes meet the FAA’s high safety bar.”
Amazon said it does not share turnover information. Prime Air continues to hire and retain talent, the company added.
WATCH: Amazon has received FAA approval to operate a fleet of drones
Amazon will start delivering packages with drones in Texas later this year
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