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First Amazon Drone Delivery


Amazon is a technology company best known for its online shopping website. It is the third largest company in the world by market cap.

Amazon Prime Air is a program under development that plans to deliver packages to customers using drones, or uncrewed aerial vehicles (quadcopters and the like). The program has suffered substantial delays. When it was revealed in 2013, CEO Jeff Bezos predicted that drone delivery would be available by 2018. Test deliveries were first made in 2016. In 2019, Amazon stated that drone delivery would be available within months. However, as of September 2020, drone delivery is still apparently under development.

When will Amazon deliver some products by drone?

This question resolves as the date when, according credible media reports or the Amazon website itself, a consumer in one of the 20 largest U.S. cities can order some product on and have it delivered by an uncrewed aerial vehicle.

The drone must be uncrewed, but not necessarily autonomous (it could be remotely piloted). It must primarily move through the air; sidewalk drones such as Starship Technologies robots do not count.

Only one product needs to be eligible for drone delivery to qualify; for example, there could be a special promotion where only Amazon Echo devices are delivered by drone.

If the service is available in only certain parts of the city, at least 20% of the city's area must be covered, at least in principle (it is not necessary that Amazon be able to deliver to every single address in the coverage area). In cases where the city has an associated "metro area" (such as LA), we consider only the city proper.

There may be a fee to access drone delivery (similar to Amazon Fresh), a waiting list, or technical requirements (e.g. a landing zone), but the customer may not be required to have any special relationship with Amazon (e.g. employee/friends and family, signing an NDA, or being part of a restricted beta program).

There are no requirements for delivery speed.

The drone must be used for the final step of a delivery (the "last mile"), and need only be used for that step. For example, a delivery driver could drive a van to a neighborhood and deploy drones to deliver boxes to houses on the block. On the other hand, an autonomous airliner delivering packages to warehouses would not qualify.

If there is insufficient information on any of these criteria (e.g. it is unclear how much of a city's area is covered), the question remains open, and resolves when all of the criteria are clearly satisfied. The question could resolve ambiguous if there is conflicting information, e.g. if one report claims that 15% of the city's area is covered, and another claims 25%.

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