updated - November 19, 2019 Tuesday EST
After months of waiting for the Federal Aviation Authority Administration (FAA) approval for drone tests near Seattle, Amazon said they may opt to conduct more drone research outside U.S.
Citing the strict regulation of FAA towards unmanned aircraft, the e-commerce giant firm said they will have to continue their testing and research for their plan of using drones in delivering small packages that weight up to 2.3 kilograms or 5 pounds.
"Without approval of our testing in the United States, we will be forced to continue expanding our Prime Air R&D footprint abroad," Amazon's Vice President of Global Public Policy, Paul Misener, said in a letter sent to the FAA.
The Seattle-based company has been waiting since July for the FAA's approval for their drones' tests within America. Until now, the aviation agency still has no answer to Amazon's request. FAA has given approval for six drone operators "to carry out commercial flight tests at around the same time as Prime Air was announced but Amazon was not among them."
Operators who successfully got the go signal from the FAA are University of Alaska, Griffiss International Airport in New York and North Dakota's Department of Commerce. "Geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk" are the factors considered by FAA in giving approval to the drone operators.
It was December 2013 when Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos made the announcement for a drone delivery service which is named "Amazon Prime Air." The new delivery service will enable e-commerce's customers to receive their ordered purchase within 30 minutes.
Bezo's drone delivery may sounds good to Amazon customers buy "making Bezos vision a reality is proving to be far more complicated than expected." This is because FAA uses "one-size-fits-all approach" in its drone regulation. This includes the requirement that all drone operators must be licensed pilots first.
"The Amazon.com service is not going to happen in six months, a year, or several years," Phil Finnegan, an analyst with the aviation consultancy Teal Group said in an interview. "It's going to take a long time."
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