Amazon has been hyping delivery drones for years. The company been using the drone delivery system for a number of months in California and Texas, however they have been less than 10 deliveries total. This has resulted in Amazon slashing the number of staff working on the project by half, I do not think Amazon has any faith in drones in the near future.
There are a number of rules with drones, that is preventing the Amazon program from reaching more adoption. One of the major flaws are the drones are not able to fly over roads by itself. According to the FAA “To cross the road while still abiding by FAA rules, Amazon employees had to act as spotters to make sure no vehicles were coming when the drone needed to fly across the street, a plan the FAA approved.”
According to the Verge, “If you’ve never dug into an FAA drone filing before, you might not be aware: the FAA doesn’t exactly hand out licenses to operate autonomous drones and drone delivery services. It creates specific exemptions to the United States’ strict airspace regulations, each with a long list of conditions that companies must follow.”
Until last November, Amazon couldn’t even fly its drones outside of “sparsely populated areas,” couldn’t fly over buildings or within 100 feet of a building, and had to stick to flying over property under Amazon’s total control. The FAA required Amazon’s drone pilots to have the kind of private pilot license that’d let you fly a plane, not just a drone. Every flight needed as many as six human beings, including observers and ground station operators.
“We meet or exceed all safety standards and have obtained regulatory authorization to conduct commercial drone delivery operations. We welcome the FAA’s rigorous evaluations of our operation, and we’ll continue to champion the significant role that regulators play to ensure all drone companies are achieving the right design, build and operating standards,” Av Zammit, Amazon spokesperson, told Amazon News Feed in an email. “We’re excited to bring this service to customers. We’re making a limited number of deliveries in Lockeford and College Station, and continuing to expand over time. Just last week we received the FAA’s approval to start delivering to more customers in these locations.”
The FAA has relaxed some of these rules somewhat, but they are still really strict. This might prevent Amazon from ever making drone delivery a thing.
Michael Kozlowski is the editor of Amazon News Feed. A website devoted to the latest Amazon News. You will find a cohesive editorial direction. Michael covers the latest occurrences in AWS, Kindle, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, audiobooks, ebooks and company news.