Amazon is now offering drone prescription deliveries in College Station, TX. Customers will be eligible for aerial deliveries of “more than 500 medications” for common conditions like the flu, asthma and pneumonia. The home of Texas A&M has enjoyed Prime Air drone deliveries of (non-medical) Amazon shipments since 2022.
The company says medications will arrive within an hour of placing their order, and there won’t be an additional fee to use the service. The drones fly at 40 to 120 meters, an altitude Amazon says presents minimal obstacles.
After arriving at the customer’s home, the drone “slowly and safely” lowers itself to a delivery marker. Once the zone is clear, it sets down the package and flies back to its base. Amazon claims cameras and other sensors on the automated devices feed into a neural network that prevents the flying machines from colliding with people, pets and power lines. “Customers pick up packages without any interaction with the drone,” says Amazon.
“We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine,” Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy, said in an announcement blog post published Wednesday. “That’s the time between when a patient feels unwell and when they’re able to get treatment. We’re working hard at Amazon to dramatically narrow the golden window from diagnosis to treatment, and drone delivery marks a significant step forward.”
Texas has established itself as a hotbed for early drone delivery trials. In addition to Amazon, Alphabet’s Wing began offering them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — including via a partnership with Walmart. Amazon Prime Air also operates in Lockeford, CA. The company uses an upgraded drone model it debuted last year, which is lighter and can fly longer than its predecessor.
A report from earlier this year said Amazon had only made a handful of deliveries due to FAA regulations. In today’s announcement, Amazon said its drones “have safely delivered hundreds of household items in College Station since December 2022.”