The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has once again granted Amazon, the online retailer, permission to test drones for commercial use.
The company had previously received the go-ahead in March, but it argued since six months had passed since the request, the prototype in question was obsolete. They submitted a new request with an updated prototype, which was approved in less than a month. The FAA says Amazon can test drones for delivery as long as it limits it altitude to 400 feet and speed to 100 miles per hour. Eventually, the web retailer hopes to use commercial drones to deliver packages to customers at a distance of 10 miles or more.
Amazon is attempting to develop autonomous drones that can dodge obstacles and find specific addresses to speed the delivery of small packages. The company has been frustrated with the pace of FAA approvals and has been forced to conduct some tests in other countries. On February 15th the FAA unveiled its first set of proposed rules for commercial drone flights. Those initial rules wouldn’t permit such automated activity because they require operators to keep their drones within sight at all times.
Though this marks another step towards Amazon’s ambitious drone delivery plan, we think there is still a long way to go before quadcopters are dropping packages on your front lawn.