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Amazon Set to Launch Drone Delivery in California

The service, called Amazon Prime Air, will use drones with sense-and-avoid systems to deliver packages safely.

Amazon Prime Air
Amazon Prime Air is set to launch in Lockeford, California.

Amazon said Monday that it's launching a fleet of delivery drones. The retail giant will test its new Amazon Prime Air delivery system in Lockeford, California, the company said.

Amazon worked with the Federal Aviation Administration and local officials in Lockeford, a small town south of Sacramento, to gain permission for the drones to take flight. 

"Lockeford residents will soon have access to one of the world's leading delivery innovations," California State Assemblyman Heath Flora said in a release. "It's exciting that Amazon will be listening to the feedback of the San Joaquin County community to inform the future development of this technology."

The company has been developing drones for years. It gained FAA approval for the drones in 2020, before scaling back the project the following year.  

The drones use sense-and-avoid systems to operate safely. The drones can reliably avoid obstacles including other aircraft, people and pets, Amazon said.

Once the system launches, customers in Lockeford will be able to order products through Amazon Prime Air and wait for the drone to arrive. It will fly to its destination, descend to the customer's backyard and drop the package from a safe height, before zooming away.