The U.S. got one step closer to having robot deliveries today.
According to a statement released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), online retailer Amazon has been granted an experimental airworthiness certificate to test drones for deliveries. 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.
Just because Amazon for the go-ahead for testing doesn't mean that robots will be delivering packages to our doorsteps anytime soon. While the FAA has been talking about providing more rules and regulations for drones in the skies, they haven't necessarily alluded to a launch date for such programs.
The FAA typically gives experimental airworthiness certificates to aerospace development companies like Boeing for machine testing.
Amazon first announced the drone idea in 2013, along with CEO Jeff Bezos explaining that the drone service would be available for close-range deliveries for packages weighing less than 5 pounds, reports the LA Times. CNN Money reports that Amazon hopes to deliver these types of packages in under 30 minutes and that the drones will travel up to 100 miles per hour. However, current drone rules state the operator must remain in the line of sight of the drone.
So, the plan is far from reality. But this is the next step toward robot deliveries.