Amazon Insists Federal Rules Apply to U.S. Deliveries by Drone
Amazon.com, seeking to bolster its efforts to deliver products via drone, said on Tuesday that states and local communities should not be allowed to regulate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) authorized by federal aviation regulators.
"Uniform federal rules must apply," Paul Misener, the e-commerce retailer's vice president for global public policy, said in written testimony released by a U.S. House of Representatives oversight committee ahead of a Wednesday hearing.
"Given the interstate nature of UAS operations, states and localities must not be allowed to regulate UAS that the FAA has authorized, including with respect to airspace, altitude, purpose of operations, performance and operator qualifications."
Misener is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as part of a witness panel that also includes a senior Federal Aviation Administration official and a privacy advocate.
Amazon.com and other companies including Google Inc are working to develop sophisticated drone operations capable of delivering packages to consumers.
Drone advocates have pressed the FAA to accommodate advanced technology in commercial drone regulations expected by the end of 2016. The current proposed rules would limit flights to daylight hours at low altitudes and within an operator's visual line of site.
But without comprehensive FAA rules in place now, states and local municipalities across the United States have been moving to regulate drone use on their own, using a variety of approaches.
In his testimony, Misener also called on FAA officials to make it their priority to harmonize forthcoming regulations on commercial drone operations with multilateral groups including the International Civil Aviation Organization. Drone advocates have said that overseas regulators have been moving more quickly than their U.S. counterparts to accommodate commercial drone use.
Amazon is also working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on a possible air traffic control system for drones that would further pave the way for integration of UAS into U.S. air space.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)