This year, Amazon will begin drone deliveries in Lockeford, California

Amazon says it will begin delivering parcels to shoppers by drone for the first time later this year, pending final regulatory approval.

Users in the Californian town of Lockeford will be able to sign up to have thousands of goods delivered by air to their homes, it said.

The shopping giant has promised drone delivery for years but has faced delays and reported setbacks.

But it said it planned to roll out the service more widely after Lockeford.

“The promise of drone delivery has often felt like science fiction,” it said in a blog post. “[But] later this year, Amazon customers living in Lockeford, California, will become among the first to receive Prime Air deliveries.

“Their feedback about Prime Air will help us create a service that will safely scale to meet the needs of customers everywhere.”

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Amazon said the drones will be programmed to drop parcels in the backyards of customers in Lockeford, which has a population of about 4,000 people.

They will be able to fly “beyond-line-of-sight”, meaning they don’t have to be controlled by a visual observer and instead use sensors to avoid other aircraft, people, pets and obstacles.

The aim is to get packages to customers safely in less than an hour, the retailer said.

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