Autonomous drone deliveries could become commonplace in the UK in 2021 as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) prepares to make landmark changes to regulations.
This month the CAA published a new guide aimed at making long-distance drone operations an “everyday occurrence”, according to The Times.
Official trials of drone flights beyond the operator’s line of sight, currently illegal under UK aviation regulations, will begin early in the New Year paving the way for commercial pilotless drone deliveries.
Current regulation requires drones to be flown within the operator’s line of site at a maximum of around 1600ft, and 400ft above the ground.
These rules are seen as a major barrier to the development of commercial drone deliveries, which are beginning to be adopted by major retailers in China and the US.
According to the CAA, beyond sight drone delivery “could bring huge benefits, including drone parcel delivery”.
Amazon announced in June that it would begin making autonomous drone deliveries “in the coming months” after becoming the second company in the US to receive permission from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to begin carrying out flights.
In the UK, the drone delivery market is set to be worth £42 billion by 2030.