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Amazon received federal approval to work its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday, this is often a milestone that permits the corporate to expand unmanned package delivery in the United States.
Amazon now has what's called a Part 135 air carrier certificate, which must be held before a company begins drone deliveries. Amazon said it might use the approval to start to check deliveries but declined to mention when or where the tests will happen.
Amazon said it validated more than 500 safety and efficiency processes as a part of its application for the certificate. The company has long said it plans to use drones to form deliveries in 30 minutes or less.. CEO Jeff Bezos first announced the program in December 2013. Amazon says that today it's test centers in the United States and around the world, and has logged thousands of flight hours.
In December 2016, it made its first drone delivery in Britain.
Its progress has been slow going since. In June 2019, Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said the corporate planned to deliver by drone within months but hasn't yet. (Wilke will retire early next year.)
David Carbon, a former Boeing executive, joined Amazon and took the lead on its drone program this past March.“This certification is a crucial breakthrough for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service which will at some point deliver packages to our customers around the world,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said during a statement.
"We will still continue to develop and refine our technology to completely integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to understand our vision of 30-minute delivery,"
Social distancing concerns during the pandemic have increased interest in using robots for delivery, but the technologies aren't ready yet for widespread use. The FAA is additionally still developing regulations needed for widespread drone use, like the remote identification of drones.
Amazon added that while the Prime Air fleet isn’t ready to immediately deploy package deliveries at scale, it’s actively flying and testing the technology. The company has zeroed in on drone delivery as a part of a push to get packages quicker to Prime members. Since last year, Amazon has also invested billions of dollars to transition from two to one-day delivery.
The company debuted a new, electric delivery drone that is capable of carrying packages under 5 pounds to customers within a half-hour and can fly up to 15 miles. Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, the drone could be used by the company “within months” to deliver packages.
Amazon is the third drone delivery company to receive the certification from the FAA. UPS and Wing, a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, both received their own in 2019. UPS has made medical deliveries at two North Carolina hospitals. It's also delivering prescriptions from a CVS in The Villages, Florida, according to a UPS spokesman. Wing launched drone delivery in Christiansburg, Virginia, in October 2019.