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Amazon to test its Prime Air drones in public

Amazon has requested permission from the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to test its possibly groundbreaking drones outside of its research laboratory to get a real world feel of the challenges and possibilities of this technology.

In a letter published on regulations.gov, the international e-commerce company explained that its energy to innovate comes from its innate philosophy of delivering excellent customer service – it invents for their benefit.


Prime Air, as it is provisionally known, is intended to deliver certain packages to customers in approximately 30 minutes from various warehouses dotted about the world.

Amazon believes that these small, unmanned aerial drones represent the future of package delivery. However, it is keen to pilot the flying vehicles ahead of deployment.

“Granting Amazon an exemption to allow R&D testing outdoors in the United States is in the public interest because it advances Congress’s goal of getting commercial sUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) flying in the United States safely and soon,” it said in its petition.

“It is a necessary step towards realising the consumer benefits of Amazon Prime Air and, at this point, Amazon’s continuing innovation in the United States requires the requested exemption for outdoor testing in support of our R&D.”


Amazon said that this request is practical and, to all intents, fairly rudimentary on the grand scale of things.

By way of example, it points to the fact that thousands of hobbyists and manufacturers of model aircraft do on a day-to-day basis.

It is believed that the letter is a timely response to the FAA’s public consultation on movie/TV exemptions for flying unmanned aircraft systems. The reason for opening it up to for discussion is because it has the potential to set a new precedent in this regard.

“One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation,” Amazon said.

“We respectfully submit this petition for exemption so that Prime Air can be ready to launch commercial operations as soon as eventually permitted by subsequent FAA action.”

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