Just a month after it was announced that Amazon will begin aerial deliveries to people in Lockeford, California, meta-marketplace Amazon revealed Friday that it will roll out similar drone services in College Station, Texas.
Both venues are expected to allow Amazon to initiate and fine-tune drone delivery operations as an additional, speedy transportation option for customers in what should be environments conducive to UAV activity. But it seems likely Amazon will be getting different kinds of experience from the two towns – a mix that may be put to use when it scales the aerial transport service to urban environments of all sizes across the US in the future.
Indeed, through a press release, Amazon said the company is particularly attracted to “the small-town feel, and the sense of community” in College Station; the city will provide interesting contrasts to the even smaller, semirural Lockeford, with a population of 3,521. Amazon’s new Texas site of drone deliveries, by contrast, is a city of over 123,000 residents and plays home to a major university – Texas A&M.
Both demand and frequency of Amazon Prime UAV flights, therefore, should be quite different once service rolls out in both places later this year. So too, logically, will be the lessons learned and improvements made as that activity progresses.
As it does in College Station, Amazon said it plans to partner with Texas A&M researchers to benefit from “some of the great work they’ve been doing in the area [of] drone technology.”
University officials cheered Amazon’s decision to develop its drone delivery activities in the town as well as the decision to tap local resources to scale and perfect it.
“Being one of the first drone delivery locations for Amazon puts College Station at the forefront of this exciting technology,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “What happens here will help advance drone delivery for the rest of the country and perhaps the rest of the world. We welcome Amazon to our community and stand ready to assist however we can.”