AMAZON JUST GOT one step closer to delivering packages to customers’ doorsteps by drone.
This week, the Federal Aviation Administration said the e-commerce giant would be free to test its delivery drones in the United States, as long as Amazon flies the drones under 400 feet and at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour. The move is not altogether unexpected. According to Reuters, just last month, the FAA issued a similar approval, but for an old prototype, one that Amazon argued was outdated by the time the approval came down.
Now, Amazon is free to test its Prime Air service, while also creating a regulatory pathway for other businesses interested in launching similar services.
Though this is a major milestone for Amazon, it’s important to remember that the ultimate vision for Prime Air—in which drones will fly autonomously for up miles to reach customers—will still be hamstrung by the FAA’s recently proposed rules regarding commercial drone operations, including the requirement that drones stay within the operator’s line of sight at all times. During the testing phase, that shouldn’t be a problem for Amazon. But over time, if that rule doesn’t change, it would be. What’s more, Amazon is still prohibited from flying its drones over “densely populated areas,” in accordance with the proposed rules. That means these tests will still be a highly limited version of what Amazon ultimately intends to accomplish with Prime Air.
Read more at WIRED.COM