Amazon's Plan for Drone Delivery Crashes With FAA Rule Draft


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Written by Natalie Mootz | Last Updated June 26th, 2019
Natalie has been writing for the web since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or at least since dinosaurs achieved blogging technology. She's also written for and Joystiq.


Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos is starting to remind me a bit of Howard Hughes because it's looking more and more like drones are his version of the Spruce Goose. Both funny-looking flying machines are cutting edge for their eras, operated by gazillionaires, and both of them just can't seem to get off the ground. Which probably means, as any viewer of the movie Aviator knows, that our poor Mr. Bezos is well on his way to buying himself a set of tissue-box shoes.

Yesterday, the FAA released a set of proposed new rules for flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones by people not suffering from acronymitis. (As everyone knows, "acronymitis" is unnatural desire to speak only in acronyms while the rest of us must use actual words. The more you know!)

Some of the proposed rules include limitations on the height drones can fly (no higher than 500 feet), the speed they can fly (no more than 100mph), and a requirement that the drone to be constantly visible in the operator's line of sight.

That last rule is likely to be a sticking point with Amazon, which has spent the last 6 months lobbying the FAA for rules that would be favorable to its desire to start 30-minute delivery of orders via drones in certain metropolitan areas, according to CNBC.

However, since the rules are only proposed there likely remains wiggle room to change the rules before they're finalized. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta indicated a desire to be flexible in writing the rules, according to NBC News. Additionally, today Amazon told Time that it remains "committed to realizing our vision."

So I guess that means Mr. Bezos doesn't need to have his feet fitted for Kleenex today -- because, unlike Hughes, Bezos's grand idea may yet still fly.

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