Amazon may be flying to India to test drone deliveries

August 20, 2014, 12:25 PM UTC
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Amazon (AMZN) is reportedly ready to test drone deliveries in India where there are fewer regulations on the unmanned aerial devices.

The online retailer will launch the service in Mumbai and Bangalore where it has warehouses, according to reports by the Economic Times.

Amazon debuted its Prime Air drone last December, showcasing its capabilities to deliver packages quickly without the need for traditional shipping routes. The concept hit a wall in the U.S. market where any drone use would need federal approval.

In the states, a host of agencies maintain oversight of drones. The Federal Aviation Authority oversees the airspace while the Federal Communications Commission reviews the communications frequencies needed to guide drones. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy also has a hand in the matter as it develops privacy guidelines.

India, however, has much less familiarity with the unmanned flying devices. Amazon, which has been lobbying U.S. regulators for approvals, doesn’t face strict governmental regulations against flying drones in the country.

Amazon hopes to launch the service ahead of Diwali, a Hindu festival that starts in late October and is a major shopping holiday in the country. A successful drone delivery could be a major publicity draw for the company, which has been going head-to-head with online competitor Flipkart for dominance in the Indian market.

Products such as mobiles and books would be delivered within 90 minutes to 3 hours for select buyers, and Amazon is developing a drone that would be able to carry packages of up to 2.26 kilograms, or about five pounds, according to people familiar with the matter.

An Amazon spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

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