Amazon Asks FAA for Permission to Test Drones – via WSJ

amazon prime air

Amazon formally requested permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to start testing drones, an important step toward the online retail giant’s goal to use the devices to deliver packages.

Amazon first unveiled the plans in December, dubbing the proposed service Amazon Prime Air and saying drones would eventually be able to deliver small packages to customers in less than 30 minutes.

In its petition to the FAA, posted Thursday, Amazon said it is now on its eighth- and ninth-generation drone prototypes, including some that can travel more than 50 miles an hour and carry 5-pound packages, which would cover 86% of products it sells.

He added, “One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.”

However, in a 2012 law, Congress gave the FAA the authority to grant expedited exemptions for some unmanned aircraft. […]  the agency was only considering exemptions for drones used for filmmaking, agriculture and inspections of infrastructure and energy plants.

In its request, Amazon says that it would limit its use of drones to “a confined area over isolated Amazon private property,” away from airports, densely populated areas and military installations.

The company argues that granting its request will allow it to “do nothing more than what thousands of hobbyists and manufacturers of model aircraft do every day,” a common argument of commercial-drone advocates.

There is other evidence that Amazon is serious about drone deliveries.

The company has at least six jobs posted on its careers website that are focused on developing Prime Air, including a project manager, a spokesman, a software engineer and a patent lawyer. All the jobs are in Seattle, except the software engineer, which is in San Francisco.

In some of the job descriptions, the company says, “You will work hard, have fun, and of course, make history!”

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