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Amazon to begin drone delivery service in California this year

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Amazon to begin drone delivery service in  California this year
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After years of setbacks, Amazon will begin delivering parcels to shoppers by drone for the first time later this year.

On Monday, the tech giant announced that it would be piloting this service in Lockeford, California following approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials.

The shopping giant has promised drone delivery for years but has faced delays and reported setbacks.

Amazon customers in the Northern California town of Lockeford will be able to sign up for free delivery by "Prime Air" drones, the company said in a post.

"Air-eligible" items ordered at the retailer's website will be packed into drones that will fly to the delivery addresses, deposit packages outside from safe heights, and then fly away, according to Amazon.

The drones can carry loads as heavy as 2.2 kilograms in packages about the size of a large shoe box, an Amazon spokesperson told AFP.

Items approved for drone delivery will include household products, beauty items, office supplies and tech gear, the spokesperson said.

Amazon said it has created a sophisticated system to enable its drones to detect and avoid aircraft, people, pets and other obstacles.

"We designed our sense-and-avoid system for two main scenarios: to be safe when in transit, and to be safe when approaching the ground," the company said.

Retail rival Walmart already offers drone delivery and in May announced it is dramatically ramping up the service, expanding to six states by year-end with the potential to drop off one million packages annually.

A variety of companies ranging from new startups to major tech firms such as Google-parent Alphabet are working on autonomous drone delivery.

Alphabet's project Wing completed its first real-world drone deliveries in 2014 in rural Australia where they successfully transported first-aid supplies, candy bars, dog treats, and water to farmers, according to the company's website.

Two years after that, Wing drones were used to deliver burritos to students at a university in Virginia.

"The logistics industry is abuzz with all-things drones," the Amazon team said.

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TAGS:Amazon Drone Delivery 
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