Amazon gets closer to drone delivery with FAA approval

Amazon (AMZN) Now there is what is known as a Part 135 airline company certificate that must be kept before a company starts supplying drones. Amazon said it would use the permit to begin testing deliveries but declined to say when or where the testing will take place.

Amazon validated more than 500 security and efficiency processes as part of its application for the certificate.

The company has long announced that drones will deliver in 30 minutes or less. CEO Jeff Bezos first announced the program in December 2013. Amazon claims it now has test centers in the US and around the world and has recorded thousands of flight hours. Progress has been slow since then. In June 2019, Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said the company had planned to deliver via drone within months, but had not yet done so. (Wilke will retire early next year.)

David Carbon, a former Boeing executive, joined Amazon and took charge of its drone program last March.

He called the certification an important step.

“We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace and work closely with the FAA and other regulatory agencies around the world to achieve our vision of 30-minute delivery,” said Carbon.

Concerns about social distancing during the pandemic have increased interest in the use of robots for delivery, but the technologies are not yet ready for widespread adoption. The FAA is still developing regulations necessary for the widespread use of drones, such as remote identification of drones.(JORDAN STEAD / Amazon)Amazon is the third drone delivery company to receive FAA certification. UPS and Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, both got their own in 2019. UPS has provided medical supplies to two North Carolina hospitals. It also delivers prescriptions from a CVS in The Villages, Florida, according to a UPS spokesperson. Wing began delivering drones in Christiansburg, Virginia in October 2019.

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