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Watch Amazon’s Prime Air make its first public U.S. drone delivery

The aircraft delivered a box of sunscreen at a conference.

YouTube / James Vincent

Amazon completed its first public demonstration of a Prime Air drone delivery in the U.S. earlier this week, ferrying sunscreen to attendees at an Amazon-hosted conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

The drone delivery was filmed by an attendee of the invite-only MARS 2017 conference (MARS stands for machine learning, automation, robotics and space exploration). It marks the first time one of the online retailer’s autonomous aircraft was flown for the public in the U.S. outside of Amazon’s private property.

In the video, a quadcopter glides through the air carrying a box filled with sunscreen — weighing a little over four pounds — under its center body. The drone then touches down on a small landing pad in a field, where it releases the payload before vertically taking off. The flight was completed fully autonomously with Amazon’s own software.

Amazon has been working on its drone project for years, but it wasn’t until last December that the company showed off footage of its first successful delivery completed entirely by a drone. That trial was in the small rural town in the Cambridge area of England — not in the U.S.

In order for Amazon to make drone delivery available broadly in the U.S., the company will have to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to craft rules about how to fly over populated areas and beyond the line of sight of the operator. And that could take years.

The demo this week was completed “with the assistance of the FAA,” said Gur Kimchi, the vice president of Amazon’s Prime Air division, in a statement shared with Recode.

This article originally appeared on

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