Amazon delivering medications by drone in Texas

Amazon Pharmacy customers located in College Station, Texas, can now have their prescription medications delivered by drone…

Amazon’s Drone Delivery Program. Photo: essentialdesigns.net

…the company announced in a blog post Wednesday.

Eligible customers can access more than 500 medications, including treatments for common conditions such as asthma and the flu, and have a drone drop them at their doorstep. The medication will arrive in less than 60 minutes at no additional cost, Amazon said.

Shares of Amazon were down around 1% Wednesday.

Amazon Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy that patients can access online. Amazon launched the service in 2020 following its acquisition of Pill Pack in 2018. The company has been working to entice Amazon Pharmacy customers by offering prescription perks and savings benefits for Prime members this year.

Amazon said its drones are equipped with cameras that help them identify objects such as people and animals. The drones fly between 40 meters and 120 meters in an airspace with “minimal obstacles,” the company said.

Once a drone determines that the delivery space is clear, it will descend and release the package containing the customer’s medication. But if the drone detects obstacles in the delivery area, it will return to the Amazon fulfillment center and reattempt the delivery later, CNBC wrote. 

To be eligible for drone delivery, customers in College Station, Texas, will have to sign up for Prime Air and complete a yard survey.

Amazon has worked on drone delivery for years, and its efforts have been met with mixed success. Amazon lost two executives in August who were key to its drone delivery operations, and its Prime Air unit lost a significant number of employees as part of the sweeping layoffs carried out by CEO Andy Jassy.

But despite internal changes at the company, Amazon said it has successfully delivered “hundreds of household items” to consumers in College Station since late last year.

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