Amazon Drone Delivery OK’d for US Testing

Amazon must fly the drones under 400 feet and at speeds that don't exceed 100 miles per hour.

Less than a month after criticizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for being too slow in its approval process, Amazon has been granted permission to test drone delivery in the United States.

The FAA in March 2015 granted Amazon permission to test drone delivery, but that process took six months, and Amazon said the drones OK’d for testing were “obsolete” and took its testing overseas. Approval this time around for the new drone prototype was much quicker.

Reuters reports that Amazon must fly the drones under 400 feet and at speeds that don’t exceed 100 miles per hour.

“We’re pleased the FAA has granted our petition for this stage of R&D experimentation, and we look forward to working with the agency for permission to deliver Prime Air service to customers in the United States safely and soon,” Amazon writes in an email to Engadget.

Amazon hopes to eventually use drones to deliver packages to customers at a distance of 10 miles or more. But there are many challenges drones need to overcome for delivery services to be successful, including technology limitations, weather conditions, inefficiency, etc. There are experts who think drone delivery is doomed to fail.

There’s also recently been a few drone delivery attempts that have gone wrong. Crocs tried to use drones to deliver shoes in a pop-up store in Tokyo, but the drones failed more often than not and even crashed into the crowd. And a Dutch restaurant owner tried to deliver asparagus using a drone. Shortly after takeoff, however, the drone crashed and burned.

But there are many cases of drones successfully delivering goods, including Alibaba using a drone to deliver tea in China, and a drone in South Africa dropping off beer to concertgoers.

So we’ll ask you: do you think drone delivery will become mainstream? Vote in the poll below.

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About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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Article Topics

Robot Fun · Drones · News · Amazon · All Topics

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