- The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Amazon Prime Air permission to test its latest delivery drones in the US.
- Amazon Prime Air will start delivering packages via drones “within months,” according to a statement from Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke.
- The FAA permit is valid for only one year, but Amazon will be able to apply for renewal. Previous Amazon drones have been approved for testing, but each new design requires a new certificate.
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Amazon’s drone delivery service is getting closer to taking flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently issued Amazon Prime Air a special certificate to test its latest drones, Yahoo Finance first reported, and the Amazon executive Jeff Wilke said the service would be ready “within months” to deliver packages to customers.
Amazon has been working for years to develop an unmanned delivery service for its customers. Wilke, Amazon’s worldwide consumer CEO, said he expects the Amazon Prime Air delivery service to grow quickly thanks to Amazon’s existing delivery infrastructure. Speaking at the company’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas, Wilke described the new drone as efficient, stable, and safe.
The FAA has approved previous Amazon drones for test flights in previous years, but each new prototype needs a new certificate. According to Wilke, Amazon’s newest drone will be able to fly up to 15 miles and is capable of delivering packages under 5 pounds in less than 30 minutes. For now, Amazon’s certificate will cover only testing.
“The FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Amazon Prime Air allowing the company to operate its MK27 unmanned aircraft for research and development and crew training in authorised flight areas,” an FAA spokesperson said in an official statement. “Amazon Prime Air plans to use the aircraft to establish a package delivery operation in the United States. This certificate is valid for one year and is eligible for renewal.”
Several other companies are also testing delivery drones, including UPS and Alphabet’s Wing. In April, Wing’s drone earned FAA clearance to drop off packages at customers’ homes in Virginia. UPS partnered with the US Department of Transportation for a drone-testing program and has been using drones to make daily medical deliveries to WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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