Amazon Prime Air

FAA Gives Amazon Permission to Test Drone Delivery Service Over Washington Skies

March 20, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Quite some time ago now, Amazon unveiled plans to utilize drones to deliver small items sold online using drones. At the time, we all thought Amazon was crazy, after all back in 2013, when Amazon first unveiled such a plan, drones were the reserve of wealthy tech enthusiasts and kids’ toys. Amazon was deadly serious however, and the name ‘Amazon Prime Air’ soon stuck, with a plan in place for Amazon to add these new delivery systems to their existing fulfillment centers. Of course, putting any sort of flying object into the sky isn’t as simple as that, and Amazon have been looking for FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in the US in order to perform live tests of what the delivery service might look like in the future and now, they’ve finally gotten it.

The FAA have given Amazon permission to test drone deliveries in the State of Washington. Amazon originally wanted to be able to fly up to 500 feet, but have been given a maximum altitude of 400 feet high. There are strict rules for this testing however, and whomever pilots the drones must have a valid pilot’s license as well as medical check. The approval also applies to a particular drone model, Amazon must inform the FAA of any modifications made to the drone, and if they are significant they may have to apply for fresh approval of a new drone. On top of all this, Amazon must provide monthly data to the regulators, too.

Never mind all that though, Amazon finally have the chance to test their drone in a live environment, and they’ll be able to see just how viable such a project would be. Amazon have been working on this for quite some time now, and it seems they’re very serious about the prospect of being able to deliver small and frequent purchases to customers without the need to load it onto a truck. Distribution is one of the key components to Amazon’s success and if they can perfect delivery from the skies, then they’ll definitely get a head start on the competition.