Delivering goods from the sky will become a reality.
Amazon won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its drone delivery. It will allow them to test their drones to deliver goods from the sky. The company becomes one of the few companies to function as a drone airline.
On Monday, Amazon said that the FAA approved Amazon Prime Air as an air carrier. But it’s under a trial program which uses high-tech devices to deliver goods. The certificate enables the company to utilize unmanned aircraft systems.
The concept of Amazon Prime Air is to utilize autonomous UAS to deliver packages safely to customers. The FAA certificate will make sure that the operation is performed safely. The administration said that it supports innovation especially if it will benefit the public.
The company stated that it will continue to refine its technology to realize its vision of providing its customers a 30-minute delivery. That’s why the certification is vital for Amazon.
The electric drones will have a system that can sense to avoid crashes. It has a drone fleet in thousands of flight hours. Although it has obtained certification from the FAA, the company won’t deliver packages to its customers for now. The company has not confirmed when its fleet will put to work to fulfill orders.
Amazon, UPS and Other Companies
But Amazon isn’t alone in this vision. UPS and a handful of companies have gained approval from the FAA.
UPS is currently working with Wingcopter. It’s a German startup that develops a delivery drone. By partnering with this startup, UPS can use a new type of delivery drone to be used not just in the US but around the world. Wingcopter has designed an aircraft with a range of 75 miles and speed of as high as 150 miles an hour.
The approval, however, doesn’t mean that Amazon can begin operating its consumer drone delivery service. However, it allows the company to test its drones and make progress to its goal.
It also doesn’t mean that all Amazon packages will be delivered by drone as soon as it’s ready to operate. However, the company said that it will take more time and tests before every Amazon package will be delivered by drone.
It will start its delivery tests. But it’s not clear when and where they will do it. The clearance for the trials is adapted from the same rules and regulations imposed on companies that operate as a commercial airline service. However, it has exceptions to allow companies to avoid the requirements regarding the onboard crew and staff who work the aircraft because drones don’t have any of those things.
The FAA will work to have a set of rules to govern drone operations. Drone flights will still need human observation.
The certification is just one of the hurdles that the company faces and allows them to move closer to its vision of dropping packages off at its customers’ doorstep with drones. Amazon will continue working with the FAA to improve its drone delivery service.