Amazon’s drone delivery program is rapidly innovating to safely deliver more products to more customers at ultra-fast speeds. Prime Air drones have already delivered thousands of items to customers in 60 minutes or less, and we’re excited to enter the next stage of the program’s evolution with faster, quieter drones in more cities in the U.S., Italy, and the UK.
Drone deliveries currently operate from dedicated Prime Air sites, but soon, all new sites will be located next to our existing network of Same Day delivery stations in the U.S. and Amazon Fulfillment Centers in Europe. This proximity and our next-generation MK30 drone will allow us to serve more customers.
We visited the site in College Station, Texas, to see how things operate today and talk to senior Prime Air leaders about what’s on the horizon. Here’s an exclusive look inside Amazon’s drone delivery operations.
A row of boxes inside the Amazon drone facility. The text on the boxes says "it's a bird. it's a plane. it's a box. it's on Prime." There are several rows of delivery drones in the background.
The journey of a drone delivery begins with fulfillment. Items are stored on shelves inside the drone facility while they wait to be purchased by a customer. If you’re familiar with the current process inside our fulfillment centers, you might notice that this is a bit different from how we typically store orders, but it won’t be for long.
An image showing several rows of shelves with numerical and alphabetical organization inside Amazon's drone facility
“Our current small format drone fulfillment centers allow us to pick, pack, and deliver products to customers in less than 60 minutes with minimal complexity,” said David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air. “Our integration into the Same-Day network will allow us to bring ultra-fast delivery to even more customers and increases selection by 10X.”
An image of Prime Air vice president, David Carbon, standing on the landing pad for Amazon's delivery drone while pointing to something in the distance and explaining something to the person next to him.
When an order comes in, an employee picks the purchased item from the shelf and brings it to the packing station. The packing station includes specialized materials for drone deliveries. Drone delivery boxes have customized cushioning technology at the bottom that we call a “trampoline,” to protect the item during delivery.
An Amazon employee holds a delivery box for a product to be delivered by drone. The text on the box says "gravity shmavity" with the Prime logo on it.
Once the item is packed, the employee slides it down the chute, officially moving the item out of the fulfillment stage and into the delivery phase.
A peek through a fence looking at a package that is moving along a belt.
Next up, an employee on the delivery side picks up the package and brings it out to the launch pad.
Two employees prepare a package to be loaded onto a drone while standing on the launch pad
An employee also brings a fresh battery to prepare the drone for launch. Using a sustainable, electric power source for our drones is critical as we work toward decarbonizing Amazon’s fleet to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040.
An image of an employee pulling a battery from a wall of batteries.
Safety is a top priority. Employees carefully inspect the drone from top to bottom to ensure it’s safe to fly. The detailed inspection checks everything from the propellers to the frame, and employees will stop operations and swap out the drone if they detect anything outside of the norm.
An image of an Amazon employee inspecting a propeller on a drone before it takes flight
Once it’s deemed safe to fly, employees load the battery and the package inside the drone, then follow a detailed protocol to launch it up to 400 feet into the air.
An employee loads a package into a delivery drone before it takes flight
Our delivery drones are highly automated, meaning they fly pre-planned missions with careful guidance from the team. The operator in command works from a control room located just behind the launch pad to ensure a safe flight path for each drone.
Two Amazon employees stand on the launch pad for the delivery drones to monitor the drone's takeoff
Once the drone is in flight, it takes off at a maximum of 65 miles per hour, soaring through the air and bypassing traffic to complete the delivery in 60 minutes or less.
An animated GIF of an Amazon delivery drone flying in the air.
Once the drone reaches a customer’s residence, it stops and slowly descends while avoiding trees, power lines, and other structures.
An image of an Amazon delivery drone flying in the air
The drone’s Sense and Avoid technology also ensures the delivery area is clear of obstacles. The drone’s door glides open and the package is released onto the landing pad placed at the customer’s residence. Once the package has been delivered, the drone ascends to begin its flight back to the drone fulfillment center.
An image from inside the Amazon Same Day facility in Sacramento.
The new MK30 drone will be even faster, and will also feature improved range to serve more customers, flying twice as far as previous models. It will also be quieter and smaller, which will help our drone delivery program more seamlessly integrate with the neighborhood environment.
An image of Amazon's new Prime Air delivery drone, the MK30.
As it flies over the facility, the drone finds its allocated landing pad and employees monitor the landing to ensure safety.
Once the drone lands, employees carefully remove it from the landing pad and inspect it before it’s reloaded for the next delivery.
An Amazon employee inspects a drone after its flight
Amazon remains committed to our long-term vision of delivering 500 million packages annually by drone, by the end of this decade. As we build to scale, we are focusing on bringing drone delivery to more populated areas and integrating our drone delivery technology into our existing transportation network.

Learn more about the exciting innovations coming to Amazon’s drone delivery program: