Retail giant Amazon.com Inc. has made its first drone delivery to an actual customer, dropping off one of its Fire TV streaming devices and a bag of popcorn to a house in the English countryside 13 minutes after receiving an online order.
The delivery occurred Dec. 7 near Cambridge in a zone that U.K. aviation authorities have authorized for drone test flights, according to a tweet Wednesday by company Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and a video documenting the flight.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 14, 2016
The custom-built quad copter is seen in the video floating over green farm fields before nestling down onto a lawn and dropping off the package. The ruddy-cheeked customer, identified only as Richard B. of Cambridgeshire, then trots out into the yard to pick up the purchases after the drone took off.
While the flight was conducted under U.K. restrictions that for now prohibit such deliveries on a widespread basis, it marks a milestone in the race by companies like Amazon and Alphabet Inc. to use unmanned vehicles to transform how customers buy and receive goods. The company is beginning broader delivery trials in an attempt to gather safety data to justify an expansion of the program.
Amazon’s proposed use of drones may drive down the cost to deliver small packages crosstown to as little as $1, a fraction of existing same-day delivery options. This is a revolutionary concept. And having been able to play with a drone recently, I know understand it’s power. The ease, and flexability is incredible. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we, humans are being transported via drones as well. The speed and handling might almost make it safe than driving.