Amazon is in talks with drone maker Drone Systems about buying the drone maker’s $9 billion acquisition of drone maker Phantom Robotics, according to people familiar with the matter.
The move comes as Amazon prepares to announce a new drone delivery service, AmazonFresh, that will offer customers a variety of items from meat to groceries.
Drone Systems, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has about 40 employees and has made drones for the military and police.
The deal could signal that Amazon is looking to invest in drone technology, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Drones are widely used in the delivery of packages and parcels, and the companies are expected to announce the terms of the deal later this month, said one of the people.
In its press release, Drone Systems said it will be able to “provide customers with high-quality, affordable drones for delivery to select customers.”
Drones have become an increasingly popular delivery method because of their ability to fly for long periods of time and they can carry packages, often in a compact box, to customers.
Drone technology has advanced dramatically since the mid-1990s, but Amazon has been slow to adopt drone technology.
It has invested in drones to deliver packages to consumers and for other purposes, such as medical devices, according the company.
But Amazon has largely shunned drones for its own drone delivery business, which has had limited success.
A representative for Drone Systems did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Drydrones are a relatively new technology.
The U.S. government has not required that companies make them available to the public, but it has set a voluntary requirement that they be sold to the government, a federal law known as the FAA.
The drone industry has struggled to make drones commercially viable.
They are mostly designed to carry packages for AmazonFresh and other companies, but the U.K.-based manufacturer has not been able to build a commercially viable drone that can fly for longer than three minutes.