Amazon Receives FAA Approval for Drone Deliveries

UPS and Wing were two of the first companies to receive FAA approval to operate drones for commercial use.

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On Monday, Amazon received federal approval from the FAA to begin operations delivering packages by drones. The Federal Aviation Administration said Amazon can now “safely and efficiently deliver packages” to its customers via its unmanned aircraft systems.

The FAA regulates the certification of drone deliveries through Part 135. The certification gives Amazon permission to use small drones to carry items “beyond the visual line of sight” of the drone operator. Amazon said now that it had received certification, it’ll begin testing deliveries to its customers.

The e-commerce giant said it has undergone rigorous training and proven that its drone operations are safe. The company has also demonstrated its technology to FAA inspectors.

David Carbon, Prime Air’s vice president, said: “This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world. We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”

Amazon acknowledged that its fleet of Prime Air drones isn’t quite ready for the big skies just yet. The company is merely testing the technology for now. The ultimate goal is to get its Prime customers’ packages to them more quickly. Amazon is attempting to transition to one-day deliveries.

The company started testing drones for delivery uses in 2013. In 2019, Amazon submitted its petition to the FAA to approve drone deliveries in low population areas, limiting packages to five pounds and under.

At the 2019 re:MARS conference, Amazon debuted its electric delivery drone. At that time, Amazon’s Jeff Wilke said its drone would be ready within months to deliver packages.

Amazon joins Wing, an Alphabet-owned company, as one of the first to receive approval from the FAA for commercial use of drone deliveries in the U.S. UPS has also received permission to operate its drones fleet as an airline entity.

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