Amazon Drones Win FAA Approval

Certification allows for the next step in testing, with the goal of 30-minute deliveries
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2020 5:25 PM CDT
Amazon Gets OK for Drone Deliveries
An Amazon delivery drone.   (Jordan Stead/Amazon via AP, File)

We don't know how customers will feel about having drones buzz past on their way to drop off packages, but Amazon has won an important approval. The Federal Aviation Authority has certified the Prime Air delivery fleet good to go, NBC reports, granting permission for the company's small drones to take packages out of the operator's sight. The drones aren't quite ready to be deployed yet. Amazon has been testing them since 2013, including for FAA inspectors, and this approval will permit delivery trials. The goal is to get packages to customers faster. "We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace," the company said Monday, "and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30 minute delivery."

Amazon told the FAA that its plan called for drone deliveries of packages weighing 5 pounds or less in lightly populated areas. It unveiled an electric drone last year that can do that, flying up to 15 miles, and Amazon has demonstrated the drones' safety for agency officials. The company has not given a date for the launch of drone deliveries, per the New York Times; it overshot CEO Jeff Bezos' prediction that they'd be pervasive by 2018. In addition to trucks and smaller vehicles for local deliveries, Amazon's fleet includes ocean freighters and cargo aircraft, per ZDNet. (More drones stories.)

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