According to the BBC, there have been sightings of Amazon’s delivery drones flying over the 2,000-year-old Roman Road and Fleam Dyke trail. Now I’m no history buff, but apparently both sites are archaeological sites of national importance and large sections of each are scheduled ancient monuments.
That area is also home to some of the rarest birds in the country, according to Mirror Online, including long-eared owls and turtle doves, both of which are now threatened with extinction.
Julia Napier, secretary of Friends of the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke, told the BBC she is “absolutely horrified” over the drone delivery tests..
“The idea of bringing drones to the middle of the countryside is so deeply shocking, one’s words fail.”
“This is a site of special scientific interest. It is also important as an historical Roman monument.
“People walk here to find peace, the idea that drones can be whizzing over their heads, delivering parcels to people who cannot wait more than two days, who must have the new thing … means more noise in the countryside.”
An Amazon spokesperson would not confirm testing at the site but said safety is a top priority.
Amazon will be testing its delivery drones at this area until October, with permission from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This partnership will allow Amazon to test three key aspects of drone delivery: flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), obstacle avoidance technology, and flights where one person operates multiple autonomous drones.
Amazon Prime Air drones weigh less than 55 pounds (25 kg), are battery-powered, can operate beyond line of sight of 10 miles, fly under 400 feet and travel over 50 MPH. The service claims to be able to deliver packages up to 5 pounds to customers in 30 minutes or less using these drones.
The biggest rival for Amazon Prime Air in the US is Flirtey, the Reno, Nevada-based startup that partnered with 7-Eleven for the first FAA-approved home drone delivery in the US. A Flirtey drone, over two flights, autonomously delivered Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy to a family about a mile away from a 7-Eleven. Watch the historic home drone delivery below.