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Amazon Drone Program Asks FAA Permission to Fly

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 7 comments

Amazon's plan to start shipping deliveries via drone is really underway, as evinced by a letter the company sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week. In fact, Amazon is "incredibly passionate about" its Amazon Prime Air feature, wherein airborne drones would deliver packages to registered customers "in 30 minutes or less," according to the letter.

In the letter, Amazon says that it is developing drones that can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry packages of up to 5 pounds (which it says covers 86% of all packages sold on Amazon). The letter also asks the FAA to grant the company "expedited operational authorization" to research and develop civil unmanned aircraft under the FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012.

MORE: How to Hack Other People's Drones for Less than $400

According to the letter, sent by Amazon's VP of global public policy Paul Misener, Amazon is already on its eighth- and ninth-generation drones, and has been conducting private research indoors at a facility in Seattle. But it needs special permission to start testing the drones for outdoors use.

The FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012 gives the FAA funding to update its air traffic control regulations, which is necessary before commercial drones can legally take to the skies. But the act also allows for some exemptions for the sake of drone research and development. That's what Amazon is requesting in this letter. 

Many were originally skeptical of Bezos' drone plan, since the announcement first came just before the 2013 holiday season, leading many to think Bezos was just trying to put Amazon in people's heads.

Email jscharr@tomsguide.com or follow her @JillScharr and Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 3 Hide
    whiteodian , July 11, 2014 9:25 AM
    The nerd in me finds great delight in this :D  I can't wait to see these things whizzing through the sky.
  • 1 Hide
    Stevemeister , July 11, 2014 9:46 AM
    Can't wait for one to drop out of the sky and cause a traffic accident
  • 3 Hide
    leo2kp , July 11, 2014 10:56 AM
    Can't wait to hear stories about people shooting these things down and stealing the packages.
  • Display all 7 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    bombebomb , July 11, 2014 11:04 AM
    All great ideas in this thread!
  • 3 Hide
    bootsattheboar , July 11, 2014 2:27 PM
    Quote:
    Can't wait to hear stories about people shooting these things down and stealing the packages.

    It's easier to follow an afternoon UPS truck and take packages from porches.
  • 1 Hide
    Phillip , July 12, 2014 5:17 PM
    For the price of one of these drones they could ship 1000's of packages via the Post Office. One drone, one shipment. Ya, that makes a whole bunch of sense.

    I'll be waiting for one to "fall" out of the sky, then demand a reward for it's return. Otherwise... in the trash (my hobby room) for "refurbishing" it goes. In Seattle, the Class B airspace extends from SeaTac out to 15 miles (30 miles across) and goes to 10,000 feet AGL. Mode C transponder and radio required, as well as a clearance to enter it in the first place.

    First collision with another aircraft will bring so many lawyers out of the woodwork, I doubt even Amazon could survive the results.

  • 1 Hide
    epaciga , July 12, 2014 5:25 PM
    I can't wait to get my impulse buy in 30 minutes or less!
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