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Amazon expanding drone delivery to AZ, ending service in CA

Amazon MK30 drone
Amazon is expanding drone delivery into Arizona.

Amazon is adding one new drone delivery market while it shuts down another.

Later in 2024, the e-tail giant will begin making Prime Air drone deliveries from its Tolleson, Ariz. same-day delivery site (West Valley Phoenix metro area). Amazon launched its proprietary drone delivery service in College Station, Tex. and Lockeford, Calif. in 2022. 

However, in a corporate blog post, Amazon said as it "look(s) to the future and prioritize(s) our resources to continue growing the (drone delivery) program," it is closing its Lockeford same-day delivery site. 

Current employees at the Lockeford site will be offered opportunities at other sites, and customers in the area will continue receiving Amazon deliveries via other means. 

Drone deliveries in College Station will continue. Customers in College Station can also get their medications delivered in under an hour via drone. According to Amazon, it has received "great feedback" from customers and communities as it has rolled out drone delivery.

Amazon is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials in Tolleson to obtain all necessary permissions to conduct drone deliveries in Tolleson. Once it has received the necessary approvals, the e-tailer will begin reaching out to customers in the West Valley area so they can receive drone deliveries when the service goes live later this year.

Amazon says it will "methodically expand" its drone delivery program in months and years to come, including during 2025.

Next steps on the new MK30 drone

In November 2022, Amazon announced its new MK30 drone. This drone is lighter and smaller than the first Prime Air delivery drone, known as MK27-2. New features include increased range of travel, expanded temperature tolerance, and the capability to fly in light rain.

In addition, Amazon has developed a proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-based sense-and-avoid system that will allow the MK30 drones to operate at greater distances while safely and accurately avoiding other aircraft, people, animals, and obstacles. 

Amazon has also created new custom-designed propellers designed to reduce the MK30’s perceived noise by 25%. Currently, the e-tailer is conducting flight tests for the MK30, with plans to make deliveries to customers later this year.

"We’re flying the new MK30 drone and putting it through its paces at our indoor and outdoor test facilities," Amazon said in the blog post. "We’ll use the data from this process to demonstrate to regulators around the world the reliability of our system."

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