After many years of research and development, Amazon drone delivery took a step closer to becoming a delivery solution for the online retailer. Federal approval couldn’t come at a better time as the embattled United States Postal Service threatens Amazon’s promised delivery times.
FAA Gives Approval to Amazon Drone Delivery
Amazon began promising two-day delivery for its Prime service, and when that service became competitive, it began offering one-day delivery. What it has been striving for, however, is thirty minutes or less.
Just think of how great that could be to place an order and receive it within 30 minutes, faster than what some grocery deliveries can provide.
On Monday, August 31, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration said it issued a Part 135 air carrier certificate to Amazon for its Prime Air drone fleet.
Amazon did not offer any hints of when it would begin offering the service but did say obtaining FAA approval was an “important step” in the process. The company also said it would continue testing the drone delivery service.
As a requirement for obtaining FAA approval, Amazon had to submit evidence of the safety of the drone delivery service and demonstrate its operation as well.
Prime Air vice president David Carbon said in a statement that the certification “indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver around the world.”
Carbon also said Amazon would “continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”
Amazon showed off the prototype for the drone delivery service at a conference in Las Vegas last year. The hexagonal drone could carry up to five pounds and had advanced spatial awareness technology that allowed it to avoid other objects in flight.
Necessity of Drone Delivery
While CEO Jeff Bezos predicted in 2013 that drone delivery would be common in five years, Amazon is just the third company to receive a Part 135 air carrier certification. The others to receive it are Wing Aviation, owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company; and UPS Flight Forward.
Drone delivery has not been implemented yet by any service. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the agency was giving $7.5. million in grants to universities for the purpose of research on “the safe integration of drones into our national airspace.”
This comes at a dire time in the U.S. Amazon depends on its own jet and van delivery service as well as the U.S. Postal Service. However, the financially-strapped U.S.P.S. has been slowed internally, threatening many essential services. Amazon getting the drone delivery approval opens up more options.
For further information on drones, read on to find how drones are saving lives.
Image Credit: Amazon