Amazon testing drones in Canada

By: Abbey Dufoe  |  March 30, 2015

Amazon isn’t happy with the FAA, and they aren’t afraid to show it.

A couple weeks after Amazon was granted an experimental airworthiness certificate from the Federal Avation Administration (FAA) to test drones for deliveries, they told the FAA they weren’t happy with the lengthy and stifling approval process.

VentureBeat reports that Amazon confronted the federal government 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.

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, they’ve moved some operations to Canada. According to TechCrunch, “the actual drone approved from testing was a prototype that has since become obsolete thanks to more recent technical advances.” The United States gave Amazon 48 total licenses to test their drones outside after months of asking the FAA for permission. In contrast, Canada gave Amazon 1,692 testing licenses after a three-week approval period.

The Guardian reports that Amazon is planning on testing 55-pound drones that travel at speeds up to 100 miles-per-hour to deliver packages under 5 pounds. Sources say the service will likely be called “Prime Air” at launch, whenever that may be.


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