Delivery drone
An Amazon Prime Air delivery drone in a warehouse. Courtesy of the company

Retailing giant Amazon announced Monday it picked a small town in the Central Valley near Stockton to be the first location for public drone deliveries.

Deliveries to Lockeford, a town of 3,500 on State Route 88, would begin later this year.

This would be the first time Amazon makes drone deliveries to the American public, and it follows several pilot projects by companies such as Walmart, United Parcel Service and FedEx.

The online retailer said it was working with Federal Aviation Administration and local officials to secure permits.

The drones will have the capability to fly beyond-line-of-sight and will be programmed to drop parcels in the backyards of customers.

“Lockeford residents will play an important role in defining the future,” Amazon said. “Their feedback about Prime Air, with drones delivering packages in their backyards, will help us create a service that will safely scale to meet the needs of customers everywhere.”

The company predicted that drone delivery “could one day become just as common as seeing an Amazon delivery van pull up outside your house.”

Amazon made its first customer delivery by drone in the United Kingdom in 2016 and had touted its plans for drone delivery for years before that.

Reuters contributed to this article.



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Ellen Bullock