The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Re­tail gi­ant Ama­zon has made its first drone de­liv­ery to an ac­tual cus­tomer, drop­ping off a Fire TV de­vice and a bag of pop­corn to a house in the ru­ral English coun­try­side 13 min­utes af­ter re­ceiv­ing an on­line or­der.

The de­liv­ery oc­curred Dec. 7 near Cam­bridge in a zone that Bri­tish avi­a­tion au­thor­i­ties have au­tho­rized for drone test flights, ac­cord­ing to a tweet Wed­nes­day by com­pany CEO Jeff Be­zos and a video doc­u­ment­ing the flight.

While the flight was con­ducted un­der Bri­tish re­stric­tions that for now pro­hibit such de­liv­er­ies on a wide­spread ba­sis, it marks a milestone in the race by com­pa­nies such as Ama­zon and Al­pha­bet 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 ex­pan­sion of the pro­gram.

Drones could play a key role in helping Ama­zon man­age costs while quickly de­liv­er­ing on­line or­ders.

The com­pany has ex­panded its Prime Now ser­vice, which de­liv­ers tens of thou­sands of prod­ucts com­monly found in con­ve­nience and drug stores in as lit­tle as an hour. Bloomberg News


An Ama­zon Prime Air drone de­liv­ers a pack­age last week.

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