Amazon botches delivery drone commercial launch
Occurred: December 2022
The first commercial delivery by Amazon's Prime Air drone delivery service in December 2022 went badly amiss, calling into question the company's technical abilities and raising questions as to why it is lagging Google and other competitors in the industry.
The MK27-2 drone was supposed to make a delivery to a residential customer in Lockeford, California, but was unable to do so when the flight package software failed to boot up and a replacement drone refused to deliver to a ground-based QR-code that had been moved a small distance.
It was not the first time Prime Air has been suffered from technical issues. In June 2021, a Prime Air drone on a test flight crashed into a field in eastern Oregon in June 2021, setting on fire 25 acres of wheat.
And Amazon's UK drone delivery operation was reported to be 'collapsing inwards' due to managerial dysfunction, systematic over-selling and under-delivering, and overlooking safety. Most Prime Air employees in the UK have since lost their jobs.
Operator: Amazon/Prime Air
Developer: Amazon/Prime Air
Purpose: Deliver products
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Robustness; Safety; Environment
Transparency: Governance; Marketing
US Federal Aviation Administration (2022). Final Environmental Assessment for Amazon Prime Air Drone Package Delivery Operations in College Station, Texas (pdf)
News, commentary, analysis
Published: May 2023