The Government’s Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill, has been involved in talks with Amazon to bring UAV drone deliveries to the UK.
Speaking this morning at the SMMT’s Connected event, Goodwill said, “I had some people from Amazon come to see me the other day. They want to replace van deliveries with drone deliveries, and they can’t do trials in the US because they’re over-regulated.”
“My favourite word is de-regulation.”
Goodwill’s comments echo those made this Tuesday by Paul Misener, Amazon’s VP of global public policy, at a US Senate subcommittee. He said, “While the FAA was considering our applications for testing, we innovated so rapidly that the [drone] approved last week by the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) has become obsolete. We don’t test it anymore. We’ve moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad.”
Drones have come under scrutiny because of their implications for privacy and safety, and governing bodies around the globe are still ironing out regulatory details. Just last month, the House of Lords introduced a register for drone pilots, and the FAA in the US has only recently authorised the testing of drones for commercial purposes.
Amazon is yet to confirm when a commercial drone delivery service will be in operation, stating, “We will deploy when and where we have the regulatory support needed to realize our vision.” The Prime Air service is intended to provide deliveries within 30 minutes after purchase.
On the subject of autonomous and connected transport, the Transport Minister said the UK is eager to create an environment ripe for innovation and investment from home and abroad.