FAA Greenlights Amazon To Increase Drone Deliveries

(NewsReady.com) – Amazon’s giant blue trucks travel throughout America, delivering goods to customers quickly. The online retailer also uses drones to deliver some items. The retailer is expanding that service after the government granted a major clearance.

On May 30, Amazon announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permitted its Prime Air delivery service to operate drones “beyond visual line of sight.” That ruling removed a barrier preventing the company from using its drones to deliver goods over longer distances. Previously, the FAA had only allowed the company to operate a drone as long as the operator could see it with their own eyes.

The company said that it submitted its drone engineering information to the FAA for approval, including how it designed, operated, and maintained its fleet and other pertinent information. Amazon also conducted flights in the presence of FAA agents and showed how the drones operated in situations with planes, helicopters, and even a hot air balloon.

The Associated Press reported an FAA spokesperson said the approval applies to College Station, Texas, where Amazon launched its drone program in 2022. Amazon said the approval means they will immediately expand the program in the city, which is located about 80 miles outside of Houston. The retailer said the new approval has laid the foundation to expand the program to other cities nationwide.

Regulators have worked to create new rules for drone operations across the world. Not everyone is comfortable with retailers using drones to deliver packages in American neighborhoods. Privacy experts have voiced concerns about it. Pilots are also worried about sharing the skies with drones.

Amazon reportedly wants to be able to deliver 500 million packages by air every year by the end of the decade. Earlier this year, the company closed a drone delivery site in Lockeford, California, but has plans to open another one in Tolleson, Arizona. Prime Air also laid off a number of employees this year. It’s unclear whether the company will hire them back now.

Copyright 2024, NewsReady.com