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Report: Amazon to Test Drone Delivery in India As Early As October

Amazon's drones may make their maiden flights outside the United States.
August 20, 2014, 4:44pm
Image: Amazon

With the federal government making it extremely difficult for any drone delivery services to get off the ground (with its approval, anyway), Amazon is apparently looking into launching its drone delivery service in India, according to local media there.

Given the Federal Aviation Administration's stance on delivery drones (and the helpful chart you'll see below), starting the program in India first makes a bit of sense, but let's be clear—this is one report from local media that uses unnamed sources. Take it with a bucket of salt for the moment.

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Still, The Economic Times reports that Amazon is planning to launch drone delivery in Mumbai and Bangalore as early as October. The drones will be able to carry roughly five pounds and will deliver products within three hours (at times as quickly as an hour and a half), according to the report.

That doesn't sound so crazy, and it sounds about in line with what Amazon has said before about the project, which it's calling Amazon Prime Air. India, like the United States, doesn't have any laws that restrict the commercial operation of drones. Unlike the United States, however, India doesn't also have a regulatory agency that's constantly trying to interfere with companies trying to do business with drones.

Testing outside the US would also make a lot of sense given the trends in the industry: The American regulatory environment is so confusing at the moment that many drone companies have moved their headquarters outside the country, with many others threatening to do the same if the FAA doesn't soon clarify its rules.

Amazon hasn't responded to any media outlet's request for comment on this, but the company is clearly serious about its drone program: It's been hiring engineers and PR folks to work on the project over the past few months.