E-commerce giant Amazon has begun rolling out drone deliveries in two towns in California and Texas, the company confirmed late last week.
The airborne deliveries have started in Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas, according to a report from local news in California.
“Our aim is to safely introduce our drones to the skies. We are starting in these communities and will gradually expand deliveries to more customers over time,” Natalie Banke, Amazon Air spokesperson said.
The service in Lockeford was first announced in June 2022 and six months later has officially started.
Amazon calls its drone delivery Prime Air and has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration and local officials in both Lockeford and College Station to begin the service.
Customers can opt-in to the Prime Air service to deliver loads of up to five pounds. Once loaded up, delivery drones will drop off packages in a customer’s backyard by descending to a safe height, dropping the package, and then flying away.
Numerous companies are expanding into drone delivery. Walmart, one of Amazon’s top rivals, is ahead of its competitor, with drone deliveries of up to ten pounds from the company now available in six states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
Beyond the consumer market, drones are being rolled out for other use cases. In Belgium, hospitals have begun using drones to deliver human tissue samples between hospitals and labs.
FedEx is also integrating drones into its logistics operation, working with California-based drone company Elroy Air to test drones that can carry 300-500 pounds of cargo over distances of up to 300 miles. The drones will initially be used to ship cargo between sortation locations.