The recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of expanded capabilities for Amazon’s Prime Air drones marks a significant evolution in logistics and delivery. This regulatory change enables Amazon to conduct drone deliveries beyond line of sight, a critical advancement poised to redefine its last-mile delivery strategy.

So, let’s look at Amazon’s plans for its drone delivery fleet and the new FAA regulation and consider what role they will play not just in Amazon’s own operational success but also their broader implications for the future of drone delivery in global commerce.

Amazon’s Interest in Drone Delivery

Amazon’s pursuit of drone delivery dates back to 2013 when founder Jeff Bezos announced plans to develop a fleet of drones to revolutionize the logistics industry.

Bezos’ vision was clear: to achieve package delivery times by drone of 30 minutes or less. Of the goal, he famously remarked, “I know this looks like science fiction, but it’s not.”¹

With more than a decade of R&D behind them, Amazon has made major strides toward realizing its drone delivery ambitions. The company expanded its testing efforts to several geographic and regulatory environments, including Arizona, California, and Texas in the United States, as well as sites in the United Kingdom and Italy. Based on data from these tests, Amazon has enhanced their drone capabilities for autonomous flight, refined their operational protocols, and demonstrated compliance with regulatory requirements.2

Strategically, Amazon’s interest in drone technology is driven primarily by faster delivery times. With drones, Amazon can significantly reduce the delivery window compared to traditional ground transportation, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The ability to swiftly reach remote or hard-to-access locations also promises to redefine logistical capabilities in both urban and rural settings. Amazon can offer expedited delivery options not possible through traditional methods. For instance, urgent deliveries of medical supplies or essential household items can be fulfilled within minutes rather than hours.³

Furthermore, drone technology offers Amazon potential cost-saving benefits by reducing reliance on human-operated vehicles, thereby mitigating labour and fuel costs associated with last-mile delivery. This efficiency gain becomes critical as Amazon continues to scale its operations globally, seeking efficiencies wherever feasible.⁴

Drone delivery also offers Amazon a competitive edge in the logistics space. In an industry where speed and reliability are paramount, Amazon’s ability to pioneer and implement drone technology places it at the forefront of innovation. This strategic positioning not only bolsters Amazon’s market leadership but will set new benchmarks for customer expectations in the e-commerce sector.

FAA Rule Change: Beyond Visual Line of Sight

The recent regulatory change by the FAA will allow Amazon to operate its Prime Air drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for the first time. So why does that mark a significant milestone for commercial drone delivery?

BVLOS refers to the ability of drone operators to fly crewless aircraft without direct visual observation. Traditionally, FAA regulations mandate that drones must remain within the pilot’s line of sight to ensure safety and control over airspace activities. However, this restriction posed a formidable barrier for companies like Amazon seeking to leverage drones for delivery operations, as it constrained the geographic scope and efficiency of drones.

Gaining BVLOS approval is the culmination of years of effort and technological advancement by Amazon. Central to this approval was Amazon’s development of onboard detect-and-avoid technology for drones. This critical component autonomously detects and navigates drones around airborne obstacles, thereby mitigating collision risks and ensuring airspace integrity.⁵

Amazon’s flight tests included scenarios with real-world aviation traffic, such as planes, helicopters, and even hot air balloons. These demonstrations underscored the reliability and safety of Amazon’s drones and reassured FAA regulators of Prime Air’s ability to operate seamlessly alongside conventional air traffic while maintaining a high standard of safety and compliance.⁶

Amazon joins Wing, UPS, and FedEx in securing FAA exemptions for BVLOS operations. Each company has invested significantly in developing and validating advanced drone technologies tailored to meet regulatory standards.⁷

Impact of the FAA Approval on Amazon

With BVLOS clearance in hand, Amazon plans to scale up its operations beyond existing test stations in Texas. The company has plans to introduce drone delivery to cities across the United States, with potential expansions to international markets on the horizon. With this phased rollout, Amazon plans to continue refining its drone technology and operational workflows before scaling up to broader service.⁸

Prime Air is also poised to play an integral role in Amazon’s overall logistics ecosystem. Combining drone deliveries with Amazon’s network of fulfillment centres promises to bolster efficiency and speed in fulfilling customer orders, particularly through its same-day delivery services.⁹ Future advancements could see drones autonomously interfacing with fulfillment centers, enabling swift and seamless delivery from warehouse to doorstep with little to no human involvement.10

Amazon aims to scale its drone delivery operations to handle 500 million packages annually by the end of the decade. This ambitious target reflects Amazon’s confidence in the scalability and reliability of its drone technology, envisioning a future where autonomous aerial deliveries become a cornerstone of its logistics infrastructure.11

As Amazon advances its drone technology and expands its operational footprint, the impact on logistics efficiency and customer satisfaction is poised to be transformative, setting new benchmarks in the competitive landscape of e-commerce logistics.

Investing in FANGMA: The TECH ETF

For investors, it would be difficult to talk about today’s stock market without dealing in some way with one or more of the FANGMA tech giants. Odds are you use one (or more) of the advanced technologies or popular consumer services these six companies are responsible for—as do billions of other people each day. However, high share prices may deter investors from adding all of these companies individually to a portfolio.

With the Evolve FANGMA Index ETF (TECH ETF), investors gain exposure to all six companies – Facebook (Meta), Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft and Apple – for a reasonable unit price.

For more information about the Evolve FANGMA Index ETF (TECH ETF) or any of Evolve ETF’s lineup of exchange-traded funds, please visit our website or contact us.



  1. “Not Science Fiction: Amazon Is Working on a Drone-Powered Delivery System
    Entrepreneur,” Yahoo Movies, December 2, 2013;
  2. Paul, A., “Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones get a major FAA clearance,” Popular Science, May 30, 2024;
  3. Koetsier, J., “Amazon Gets Key FAA Drone Delivery OK; Clears Path To 500M Package Goal,” Forbes, May 30, 2024;
  4. Palmer, A., “Amazon to expand drone delivery service after clearing FAA hurdle,” CNBC, May 30, 2024;
  5. “Amazon drones can now fly farther and deliver to more customers following FAA approval,” Amazon, May 30, 2024;
  6. McNabb, M., “Amazon Expands Drone Delivery Operations with New FAA Approval,” Drone Life, May 31, 2024;
  7. Shakir, U., “Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones can fly even farther after FAA approval,” The Verge, May 30, 2024;
  8. McNabb, M., “Amazon Expands Drone Delivery Operations with New FAA Approval,” Drone Life, May 31, 2024;
  9. “Amazon drones can now fly farther and deliver to more customers following FAA approval,” Amazon, May 30, 2024;
  10. Paul, A., “Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones get a major FAA clearance,” Popular Science, May 30, 2024;
  11. Koetsier, J., “Amazon Gets Key FAA Drone Delivery OK; Clears Path To 500M Package Goal,” Forbes, May 30, 2024;

Header image source: Getty Images Credit: Witthaya Prasongsin

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