Amazon has chosen the residents of Lockeford, California, to be among the first customers to receive drone deliveries from its Prime Air service.
“Lockeford has historic links to the aviation industry,” the retail giant said in its announcement Monday (June 13). “The community boasts one of the early pioneers of aviation — Weldon B. Cooke, who built and flew early planes in the early 1900s — as a former resident. Now, over a century later, residents will get the opportunity to sign up for free drone delivery on thousands of everyday items.”
Amazon said it will use feedback about Prime Air from Lockeford residents to help it shape the service’s future. The company said the test also comes with an investment in the community, including the creation of new jobs and partnerships with community organizations.
“We are working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials in Lockeford to obtain permission to conduct these deliveries and will continue with that collaboration into the future,” the company said.
According to Amazon, Prime Air’s drones use a sense-and-avoid system that allow for operations without visual observers. This system lets the drone operate at greater distances while avoiding other aircrafts, people, pets and obstacles.
With this news, Amazon joins other companies testing robotic deliveries in California. As PYMNTS reported last month, Uber Eats launched two autonomous delivery pilots in Los Angeles: one with Motional, an autonomous driving firm, the second with Serve Robotics, a sidewalk delivery platform that is an off-shoot of Uber.
Amazon’s announcement comes weeks after rival Walmart said it was expanding its unmanned aerial delivery service with partner DroneUp to six states, with the goal of carrying out 1 million drone deliveries by the year’s end.
Walmart said the service area will include 4 million households, with deliveries coming from from 34 participating stores and sites in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah and Virginia. These deliveries will include tens of thousands of eligible items weighing under 10 pounds that can be shipped to consumers’ homes in under 30 minutes for a $3.99 fee.