Amazon Halts Drone Program in California, Sets Sights on Arizona for Future Deliveries

Amazon is stopping its drone delivery service in Lockeford, California, which was one of the first places in the U.S. to test it out.

The program, called Prime Air, has had a hard time taking off ever since Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos first talked about it in 2013. He envisioned drones delivering packages weighing less than 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less.

Amazon announced on Monday in a blog post that it plans to expand drone deliveries to more U.S. cities by 2025. They also plan to start delivering in part of the Phoenix area later this year. Amazon is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and local officials to get approval for drone deliveries in Tolleson, Arizona, which is west of Phoenix.

Amazon prime air
Amazon Prime Air had to undergo a lot since 2013, to be a success (Credits: Amazon)

Amazon wrote, “As we look to the future and prioritize our resources to continue growing the program, we’ve also made the decision to close our delivery site in Lockeford.” They said they will offer employees jobs at other sites, and Lockeford residents can still order using other delivery options.

Amazon is currently testing its new delivery drone, the MK30, to show that it’s reliable. This drone was introduced at an event last year. It’s designed to be smaller and quieter than the older models, and it can even fly in light rain.

In 2020, Amazon got certification from the FAA, which allows it to use drones for deliveries with some rules. But the progress of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program, has been slow.

Recently, Amazon made a deal with Embention, a company that makes autopilot systems for drones (Credits: Embention)

In 2022, Amazon said it would start testing deliveries in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. When Prime Air first came to Lockeford, some people there were doubtful about it.

But just as things were about to get moving, Prime Air had layoffs last year, along with other job cuts at Amazon. The program also faced problems with regulations and some key people leaving.

Even with these challenges, Amazon has kept working on expanding drone deliveries. Last October, the FAA made it easier for Amazon’s drones to fly over roads and cars to finish their routes.

Recently, Amazon made a deal with Embention, a company that makes autopilot systems for drones. Emotion will give Amazon safety equipment and software as part of this deal.

Michael Manua
Michael Manua
Michael, a seasoned market news expert with 29 years of experience, offers unparalleled insights into financial markets. At 61, he has a track record of providing accurate, impactful analyses, making him a trusted voice in financial journalism.
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