Amazon Prime Air drone deliveries take flight in UK

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A prototype Amazon Prime Air drone unveiled by the company on Nov. 30, 2015. Credit: Amazon

Amazon is finally testing its Amazon Prime Air drone delivery system, and they only had to jump across the pond to do it.

The company is teaming up with the UK government to bring drone deliveries to British citizens. We've been hearing about tests for drones deliveries for a while, but this is different in that it is much more widespread. Also, these deliveries will help Amazon test its drones' capabilities and the UK shore up its regulations regarding drone deliveries.

So what exactly is happening? And are we all likely to see drones buzzing overhead in the near future?

In IT Blogwatch, the sky's the limit.

What makes these drone deliveries so special? And what kinds of things are they testing? Abhimanyu Ghoshal gives us the details:

Amazon is inching closer to a reality of delivering products using...drones....[it] will test drones that fly beyond the operator’s line of sight in rural and suburban areas, their ability to identify and avoid obstacles, and...trips involving fleets of...drones handled by a single person.

Great, we have the very basic details there. But can we get a little more information? Charlie Osborne fills in the blanks:

The new partnership, supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority...will...prove useful to the CAA in identifying any new rules and regulations needed for the emerging industry before it becomes firmly established.
The tests...aim to speed up the development of Prime Air...Earlier this month, Amazon was granted a new patent for drone docking stations which could charge drones in city points such as streetlights, buildings and power poles.

OK, that answered a few more questions. But are you wondering why these tests aren't taking place in the U.S.? There is a very good reason for that -- the U.S. has much more restrictive regulations regarding commercial drone use. John Ribeiro explains what they are:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released...its final rules for the operation of “small unmanned aircraft,” limiting their weight to 55 pounds and...flying only during day at less than 400 feet altitude, within the visual line of sight of the operator.
Some companies...criticized...that the regulation make it unfeasible to deploy drones for deliveries on a large commercial scale.
Amazon has...warned that regulations in the U.S. would drive...its research and development on drones to other countries. It is already testing drones in the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands.

Are there any other pertinent details we should know about? SirSickBoy has one theory of how this will work, but we are doubtful:

All drones will wear santa hats and deliveries will be dropped down the chimney...
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