Amazon's Delivery Drones Are Shutting Down on Hot Summer Days

Ground Control

Amazon is still hellbent on making delivery drones a thing.

The e-commerce giant is planning to roll out its fleet of drones in Arizona — but as Wired reports, soaring temperatures are greatly hampering those efforts.

That's because the drones can't operate in temperatures exceeding 104 degrees Fahrenheit, a threshold that Tolleson, Arizona — the city where Amazon plans to roll out the service — crosses for a full three months of the year.

And that's just the tip of the hotberg. Amazon has struggled to roll out a mainstream drone delivery service, despite over a decade of research and development put into its Prime Air initiative. In the same press release announcing its planned Arizona expansion, the company admitted that its service based in Lockeford, California was shutting down after two years.

The numbers speak for themselves: the company has only completed thousands of deliveries, despite promising to make 500 million by 2030. Even Google's competing Wing service has completed hundreds of thousands of deliveries via drones, according to Wired.


Beyond sweltering heat, Amazon still has plenty of hurdles to overcome before it can kick off a planned "Same Day Delivery Service" via drones from a site in Tolleson, Arizona. It has to obtain permits for both its warehouse and for its next-generation drone called MK30.

Even on the customer side, it's a perplexing venture. Shoppers have to opt in to have an 80-pound drone drop a box from several feet onto a QR code mat in their backyard.

And of course there's the sweltering heat the town experiences in the summer.

"We won't take orders when the temperature gets above 104 degrees," Amazon Prime Air director of product and program management Calsee Hendrickson told Phoenix-based channel 12News last month.

An Amazon spokesperson has since shot back, telling Wired that it will complete deliveries throughout the summer — but didn't deny that the local climate would hamper those efforts.

Despite both literal and figurative headwinds, Amazon still hasn't given up on the idea of drone deliveries and is planning to roll out the service in Italy and the UK later this year.

More on drone deliveries: Alibaba Exploring How to Deliver Cheap Plastic Garbage Via Space Rocket