Amazon Tests Delivery Drones at Secret Canada Site After US Frustration

Our Take!

This is a small but good example of how an overregulated and highly bureaucratized market can hamper innovation. We have heard over the past several months of Amazon’s desire to use remote controlled drones to deliver packages quickly. In order to test this new system, Amazon had to jump through a seemingly never-ending series of hoops to please the U.S. government. Frustration mounted and the massive online company decided to test their system in Canada. It should not be this hard for such a large and influential company to try something new. Especially if that new system has the potential to revolutionize an entire industry. 

By Ed Pilkington

Amazon is testing its drone delivery service at a secret site in Canada, following repeated warnings by the e-commerce giant that it would go outside the US to bypass what it sees as the US federal government’s lethargic approach to the new technology.

The largest internet retailer in the world is keeping the location of its new test site closely guarded. What can be revealed is that the company’s formidable team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing – including a former Nasa astronaut and the designer of the wingtip of the Boeing 787 – are now operating in British Columbia.

The end goal is to utilise what Amazon sees as a slice of virgin airspace – above 200ft, where most buildings end, and below 500ft, where general aviation begins. Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs that account for 86% of all the company’s packages.