Drones may be used to deliver Amazon parcels in Southampton from next year.

Last month, the online shopping company announced its plans to expand the Prime Air scheme from the US to Italy and a site in the UK.

The drones will be rolled out by the end of 2024 and the locations will be revealed soon, Amazon said.

READ MORE: What is it like at Southampton's Amazon distribution centre?

One of the possible sites in the UK could be the delivery warehouse in Southampton, known as DS02, which sends out tens of thousands of parcels a day.

The latest model of Amazon drone, the MK30, can deliver small packages weighing up to five pounds within a set radius of the centre and in mild weather conditions including light rain.

The packages can take less than an hour to deliver.

While the limitations of what drones can carry mean that drivers will still be needed, there are still concerns among staff - or 'associates' as Amazon calls them - that robots might take their jobs in the future.

Daily Echo: Claire Matthews, 46, manages the delivery drivers at DS02 after starting at Amazon as a delivery driver herself.

She said: “My drivers are scared to death they are all going to be replaced by delivery drones.

“This is a concern among drivers – but whether or not is a likely change I can’t say.

“A drone can’t confirm that someone has a parcel delivered.

“I know we live in a digital age but many of our drivers have a great chat with elderly residents that just love that face-to-face contact.”

But DS02 general manager, Harry Waddington, 28, said: “I do recognise that there is a lot of concern around the idea of robots replacing jobs.

"However, we built our technology around our workforce with the aim of supporting them.

“Without robots and technology, it would be impossible for us to work as efficiently as we do.”

The MK30 can detect and avoid obstacles including people, pets, and property and fly twice as far and is much quieter than the previous model, Amazon said.

Amazon began using delivery drones at two centres in the USA back in 2020.

The Prime two-day delivery service started 17 years ago and was considered revolutionary for the delivery industry at the time.

The threat of staff being replaced by robots and AI has been commonly debated in recent years, with the Office for National Statistics reporting 1.5 million people in England are at high risk of losing their jobs.