🛬 Amazon gets the legal thumbs-up for drone delivery
Amazon’s Prime Air drones were approved by the FAA, marking an important first step toward Amazon’s delivery getting very personal.
So, are packages about to fly to your front door? And how can that be allowed?
The FAA gets the final say: The FAA regulates everything from the drones you can buy online to inspection drones to delivery drones. The agency definitely wants delivery drones to happen, too: It has spent millions in grants for universities to research them.
The hardest part to getting approved: The FAA focuses most on risk prevention, and one of the greatest risks for a drone is running into another object. In Las Vegas last year, Amazon announced it had created greater spatial awareness in its drone, perhaps setting it on pace for the FAA approval.
And Amazon can’t just drop packages willy-nilly: FAA regulations, more or less, say you can’t drop an object from a drone. Amazon’s drone will likely have to land on a doorstep itself and then release the package, barring legal changes.
Amazon is already behind schedule. Jeff Bezos said in 2013 the company would be using delivery drones by 2018, with hopes of getting delivery times to 30 minutes or less. UPS and Alphabet have also secured FAA approval, but neither has started using delivery drones at a wide scale yet.