Amazon Asks FAA Permission to Test Drones
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Amazon has petitioned the FAA to get its drones – or rather, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) -- outside and off the ground as soon as possible.
While the technology is developing at a speedy clip, it seems that the company views the current regulations as the remaining obstacle in its quest to populate the skies with Amazon deliveries.
"We are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," wrote Paul Misener, the company's vice president of global public policy. "One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation."
The request was made so the company could conduct more research on its Amazon Prime Air vehicles. The program was unveiled by CEO Jeff Bezos on CBS' 60 Minutes back in December. The drones are expected to that can travel at more than 50 miles an hour, carry up to five pounds and deliver 86 percent of products available on the Amazon site.
Citing the FAA's Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the company is asking to be exempt from aspects of the current rules that prevent them from testing the drones outdoors in the US. To this point, Misener noted that as a "commercial enterprise," the testing had been relegated indoors and in other countries to this point, whereas "hobbyists" and manufacturers of model aircraft have a bit more leeway with outdoor R&D.
In the letter, Misener details the safety precautions the company will take in Seattle, that they intend "to go far beyond those that FAA has long-held provide a sufficient level of safety for public model airplane fields – and only with sUAS."