31AUG20 saw Amazon reach another milestone in its eCommerce delivery services, as the Federal Aviation Administration certified it to operate as a drone airline.
It is one of very few companies currently accorded that status by the FAA, which is looking to “support innovation in the expanding drone arena while ensuring that the devices operate
United Parcel Service has already begun transporting medical supplies in North Carolina, and Wing, the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary, which has Walgreens and FedEx Corp as partners, and has been testing drone deliveries across Virginia since 2019. More, smaller companies and startups are still pending FAA approvals.
Drone deliveries “around the world,” David Carbon
The Amazon Vice President responsible for Prime Air, David Carbon, stated: “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.”
Some hurdles still must be set aside
Amazon Prime Air will now start trial commercial deliveries in the U.S. (it has already trialed a few in the U.K. previously), though it and other drone operators still face a number of regulatory and technical hurdles before drone deliveries will become the norm, and these could still take a few years to clear.
That said, the FAA expects to have finalized a set of regulations before the end of the year, pertaining to drone flights across peopled areas, that look to minimize the risks of terrorism or striking other aircraft.
Completely autonomous flights, however, are not yet permitted.
Amazon works with MK27 devices capable of carrying 2.2 kgs a distance of 12 kilometers, with the aim of reaching customers within 30 minutes.
The drones are fitted with sensors and computing systems to ensure unhindered flight and landing, without posing a danger to humans and animals.
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