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Amazon Air Takes Off During Coronavirus With Rapid Summer Expansion to Its Fleet

In the span of just a few weeks, Amazon is amassing a $2.5 billion fleet of drones that will dispatch packages to your door ahead of the US summer rush.

In two days, Amazon’s 14-year-old drone fleet has grown to 25 aircraft that can hover to carry or drop packages to customers two hours after they place orders, all while retaining a company-to-customer ping rate less than 30 seconds. In order to address the increased flight frequency, Amazon’s “Amazon Air” drone service can travel at speeds of 100 mph.

The change represents a shift from Amazon’s original approach of designing drones to offer a “freehand” delivery system, which would let the company model any location as possible so that it can tailor the drones based on local conditions and sky conditions. The company’s first round of trials began in July 2016 with the first Amazon drone drone — named AllTrails — flying in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In the wake of Amazon Air’s successful rollout, Jeff Bezos’ company still faces regulatory hurdles, especially from the Federal Aviation Administration. Amazon is suing the FAA over regulations that ban drone flights near airports.

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