Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery fleet gains FAA approval for trial commercial flights

This certification is the same one that was granted to UPS and a couple of other companies, and while it doesn’t mean that Amazon can immediately start operating a consumer drone delivery service for everybody, it does allow them to move in the direction to fulfill this goal.

Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery fleet gains FAA approval for trial commercial flights
Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery fleet gains FAA approval for trial commercial flights

Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery fleet gains FAA approval for trial commercial flights

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted approval to Amazon to start out trialing commercial deliveries via drone. This certification is the same one that was granted to UPS and a couple of other companies, and while it doesn’t mean that Amazon can immediately start operating a consumer drone delivery service for everybody, it does allow them to move in the direction to fulfill this goal.

TechCrunch reports that Amazon stated that it’ll begin its own delivery tests, though it hasn’t shared any details on when and where exactly those will begin. The FAA clearance for these trials is tailored from the security rules and regulations it imposes for companies operating a billboard airline service, with special exceptions allowing companies to bypass the wants that specifically affect onboard crew and staff working the aircraft, because the drones don’t have any.

These guidelines are at best a patchwork solution designed by the agency and its commercial partners to provide assistance for them on how to urge an underway with crucial systems development and safety testing and design, but the FAA is working toward a more fit-for-purpose set of regulations to govern drone airline operation for later this year. That will mostly be associated with authorizing flights over crowds — but any drone flights will still require constant human observation.

Ultimately, any actual viable and practical system of drone delivery would require fully autonomous operation, without direct line-of-sight observation. Amazon has plans for its MK27 drones, which have a maximum 5 lb carrying capacity but it’ll still likely be a few years before the regulatory and traffic control infrastructure is updated to the purpose where it will occur regularly.