FAA grants Amazon the right to test out Prime Air, its autonomous drone delivery service, a positive step in future of commercial drone aviationAdam Keith Milton-Barker | Apr 11, 2015 | Drones and Robotics | 2547
Back in February I wrote an article about how many governments were placing a ban on using drones for commercial activity and how I believe that this action was damaging the growth of the economy and halting technology that will make major advancements in the medical industry, aviation and disaster response. (See related link) One of the companies I mentioned in the article was Amazon, and how the company was planning to create a sophisticated autonomous delivery system that would revolutionize transportation for many businesses making the services more efficient and speedy. The plans had been put on hold as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) denied them the ability to provide the service known as Prime Air. In March Amazon were granted an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate after Amazon said that they would take their testing to foreign countries so that they could continue their testing. There were a few limitations on the certificate such as only being able to fly the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) at no more than 400 feet during the day and the UAS must stay within the visual line of sight of the pilot and the pilot must have a number of certificates themselves. There was big problem with this certificate though, it only applied to an obsolete drone prototype which forced Amazon to continue testing outside of the US in Canada. More recently the FAA granted clearance to Amazon to begin testing their drones n the United States: "This letter is to inform you that we have granted your request for exemption. The exemption would allow the petitioner to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to conduct outdoor research and development testing for Prime Air." The restrictions of the previous certificate are still in place and the drones are only allowed to fly at 100mph which ties in with the proposed rules for commercial drone services which were announced back in February this year, but this is definitely a step in the right direction, and brings Amazon a bit closer to fulfilling their dream of delivering orders in 30 minutes or less using their autonomous fleet. This move may be a sign that the US government are seeing the benefit that drone technology will bring to the economy and hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit. Once drones finally become accepted and put into action there are so many ways that the world benefit. I look forward to hearing more news about the progress with Amazon and will keep you all up to date as and when. Check out the videos and photos to find out more about Amazons Prime Air.