Amazon pushes FAA for new drone testing rules
Amazon has been having a difficult time testing their delivery drones.
Even though the online-retail giant was approved for drone testing in mid-March, the executives were unhappy with the lengthy approval process. Also, the drones that were approved by the FAA were old designs, and Amazon had already come up with new prototypes. Because of this, Amazon took their drone testing over-seas and to Canada:
VentureBeat reports that Amazon confronted the Feds in a Senate hearing, stating that they’ve been approved in two months or less in every country except the U.S. Because of this, the retail giant has moved on to new prototypes already.
On top of this, Amazon is also unhappy with the rules set forth in the experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA:
Amazon wants its autonomous drones to be able to cover a distance of ten miles or more to deliver products from its various warehouses. However, the FAA is only willing to allow commercial drones to fly as far as the drone operator can see, and 500 feet high — a rule that would not accommodate Amazon’s operations. (VentureBeat)
So, Amazon is taking charge. The online-retail giant, along with a group annoyed companies, is seeing FAA reform. According to USA Today, Amazon wants to be able to fly drones beyond the line of sight of drone pilots, as well as allow drone pilots to manage multiple drones at once. These changes are important to Amazon, which hopes to launch their Prime Air 30-minutes delivery system, which would deliver packages to Prime customers.
A group of companies contacted the FAA with their concerns, and the FAA received over 4,000 comments. The government agency will take between 18 and 24 months to go through them and decide if they should change the policy. So much for quick reform!