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Will Amazon Prime Air finally take off this summer?

Will Amazon Prime Air finally take off this summer?

Here’s a great article on Amazon Prime Air. It provides a lot of insight of what has been going on behind the scenes of the e-commerce giant’s drone team. Will we finally see Amazon Prime Air take off in the U.S. this summer?

Amazon Prime Air, ready for take-off?

In June of last year, Amazon said that its drone delivery program, better known as Amazon Prime Air would launch within months. We are now one year later and we still haven’t seen the drone service start. What is going on here? Well, Eugene Kim who writes for Business Insider provides a detailed look behind the scenes.

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

An internal timeline seen by Business Insider indicates that a launch date is now set for August 31. But people close to the program say whatever drone service Amazon is able to launch in the near term will amount to little more than a glorified trial in a controlled and extremely limited area.

Amazon insiders say the company has developed strong drone technology. But they acknowledge that the Prime Air team has struggled to find a clear direction, hampered by years of internal conflict, lack of focus, and ongoing regulatory obstacles.

In an email statement to Business Insider, Amazon’s VP of Robotics Brad Porter said Prime Air “continues to make great strides” towards the official launch.

“We recognize the only solution worth launching is one that is incredibly safe and we continue to partner closely with the FAA in that mission,” he said. “We are excited that David Carbon has joined us in this endeavor; his experience will be invaluable to the team as we move to the next phase,” Porter said, referring to the new head of Prime Air, David Carbon.

In March, Prime Air’s longtime leader Gur Kimchi announced he was moving to a different role within Amazon. Kimchi’s resignation came as a surprise, as he had served as the de facto face of the team since its inception in 2013.

Prime Air’s single biggest obstacle to launch remains regulatory issues.

It’s unclear where Amazon’s approval process stands now. But Amazon continues to work closely with the FAA, and its latest drone model has been flying every day on an FAA-designated public range to generate the required data, people say.

Read the entire article here.

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Photo: JORDAN STEAD/ Amazon

Haye Kesteloo

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