With Amazon continuing to perform exceedingly well amidst a pandemic that has blown up the popularity of online shopping, the e-tailer giant had seen its revenue for the second quarter increase 40% year-on-year to $88.9 billion. For one of the biggest companies in the world, such an improvement in sales is not too common to see.
Now, Amazon is set to to capitalize on their growing position in the market, bringing us the next big thing in e-commerce, a particular advancement that is especially ideal in a post-COVID-19 world.
This week, Bloomberg reported that the Federal Aviation Aviation Administration (FAA) had granted Amazon approval to begin commercial trials of its drone delivery system in the US.
Amazon joins Alphabet-owned drone delivery company Wing, which was the first drone delivery company to receive FAA approval for commercial deliveries in the US, as well as UPS.
“Amazon and its competitors must still clear some imposing regulatory and technical hurdles before small packages holding the likes of cat food or toothpaste can routinely be dropped at people’s homes,” Bloomberg said. “But the action shows that they’ve convinced the government they’re ready to operate in the highly regulated aviation sector.”
To attain this approval, Amazon said that it had to go through rigorous training while submitting detailed evidence that its drone delivery operations are safe, including demonstrating the technology for FAA inspectors.
The company’s drone delivery service, dubbed Amazon Prime Air, aims to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles i.e. drones. When checking out, a customer would be able to pick the Prime Air delivery option.
The company has Prime Air development centers in the US, the UK, Austria, and France, among others.
Below is a flight test video of one of Amazon Prime Air’s recent delivery drone designs:
Drone developments in the GCC
We have seen some minor developments in the field of drone technology in the GCC region, though the potential is certainly there.
Just this July, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued a new law outlining the regulations governing drone activity in Dubai.
In 2019, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced the signing of an agreement with the German VOLOCOPTER Company, a specialist in the manufacturing of Autonomous Air Vehicles, to launch the first vehicle capable of carrying two passengers, Logistics Middle East had reported at the time. The first flying taxi trials in the country began in 2017.
As of August, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) had issued thousands of permits for drones in the commercial and entertainment categories, a senior official had said, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.
GACA spokesman Ibrahim Al-Rusaa told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that a comprehensive update of the executive regulations governing a mechanism for operation and registration of drones will soon be issued.
Saudi Arabia had begun issuing drone permits back during January 2019 for recreational and commercial use.