Amazon seeks approval from FAA to hurry up the drone integration into the delivery process. The company sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration through which is seeks to gain approval to test its drones on the company’s land. Now the FAA allows drone testing only on six government selected sites: the University of Alaska, the state of Nevada, Griffiss International Airport in New York, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University’s Corpus Christi campus, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Regulation for drone hobbyist is already established. The FAA foresees the first legislative material targeting commercial drone usage to be released in 2015. Paul Misener from Amazon sent a petition to the FAA asking for approval to run tests on an Amazon site close to Seattle. He argues that by doing so instead of performing tests on distant sites on American and foreign soil will speed up the process. When the regulation is established, Amazon wants to be ready to perform drone deliveries.
Amazon has a vivid relation with the federal regulation committees, as it was warned by the FTC for not taking enough preventing measures against unwanted in-app purchases.
Amazon seeks approval from FAA to develop Prime Air drone program
More than 80 percent of Amazon’s delivered packages weigh less than five pounds, which makes them ideal for drone transportation. Misener said they are already working on the eighth and ninth drone versions. Among the main characteristics which need further intensive testing are agility, flight duration and sensors. The aim is to develop a fully operable drone with speeds of more than 50 Mph. Amazon assembled a team of engineers, roboticists, a NASA astronaut, and sensor experts to work on the project.
The FAA has strict rules regarding the testing procedures. But it can offer exemptions if the specified reasons are stating the benefits for the general public and Amazon wants to use the opportunity. Outdoors tests will offer the closest real world experience for the drones. Amazon underlines the concerns for public safety during the tests. Geo-fences are just one method to ensure safety standards. The high-tech method implies a virtual barrier which when crossed by the drones, will deactivate them.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the Prime Air program in December, although the sci-fi delivery method was not taken too seriously. Amazon seeks approval for extensive out-doors testing because the aim is to perform deliveries in less than 30 minutes.
“We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so,” , Paul Misener, Amazon vice president over global public policy stated.