Amazon unhappy with FAA drone regulation speed, takes testing over-seas

By: Abbey Dufoe  |  March 24, 2015

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved an experimental airworthiness certificate to online retail giant Amazon to test drones for delivery:

The statement outlines that Amazon must test the unmanned aircraft under 400 feet during daylight hours without rain or other hazardous weather. The New York Times reports that Amazon has been lobbying the FAA for months to get flight testing approved. Amazon has been testing drones in warehouses, but now will move to testing over private land in Washington state. (See previous story from BestCompanys)

However, Amazon was waiting for months and broke the silence today: they’re not happy with the approval process.

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.

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)

Federal regulations are likely to slow down more of Amazon’s plans. However, regulations may change. Fast Company explains:

The FAA’s near-total ban of the use of drones for commercial purposes remains a sticking point for companies eager to use unmanned aircrafts. Amazon, with its plan to use drones for delivery, is among the more prominent companies currently lobbying to have the U.S. government rethink its drone policy.


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