- The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has launched a new innovation team, which is helping Amazon to test its drone delivery system.
- A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman told Business Insider that it will begin with virtual tests, but in the future, it will look to do physical tests.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted that drone delivery would be in place by 2018 but his plans are yet to materialize.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A UK government aviation agency is helping to make Amazon’s dreams of high-speed drone delivery come true.
On Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that its newly formed innovation team would be launching a virtual testing space, known as an “Innovation Sandbox,” where a group of companies would have the chance to “discuss, explore, trial and test emerging concepts.” Amazon was named as a participant.
A CAA spokesman told Business Insider that while the testing will begin virtually, it would eventually be done in a physical space. It wants to position the UK as a leader in aviation innovation and have a hand in the testing of new products to ensure they are safe, the spokesman added.
It would be helping Amazon specifically to test its much-anticipated drone delivery system, which it says could bring packages to customers in as little as 30 minutes. Amazon declined to comment beyond the CAA announcement.
Read more: Jeff Bezos was wrong when he predicted Amazon will be making drone deliveries by 2018
In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Amazon drones would be operational by 2018. “I’m an optimist,” he said. “Could it be four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Fast forward six years and its drone delivery plans are yet to materialize. However, recent reports indicate that testing is well underway.
It has been discreetly testing in UK sites since 2016, and in July 2017, it filed a patent that showed it was working on a way for drones to capture data by scanning people’s homes.
Meanwhile, one Amazon’s main tech rivals, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), recently secured approval to roll out one of the world’s first drone delivery services in Australia.
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