FAA Delivers Setback To Amazon’s Drone Plans

The Federal Aviation Administration has dealt a strong blow to Amazon’s plan to use drones for small package delivery, a program Amazon calls Amazon Prime Air.

The FAA released a list of proposals on February 15 that would put strong restrictions on commercial drone usage.  One of the major restrictions is that operators of commercial drones must keep it in their eyesight and the drones cannot fly over crowds of people.

“Based on the proposal, even then those rules wouldn’t allow Prime Air to operate in the United States,” Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy at Amazon, said in a statement to a number of media outlets.

While the rules could take as long as two years to be adopted, they seem to be a significant roadblock on Amazon’s plans to create a drone delivery network that CEO Jeff Bezos has said he hopes will one day be as common as seeing a mail truck.

“The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need,” Misener added.

Amazon has pushed forward with its plan to use drones for delivery since announcing the plan during an interview on the CBS newsmagazine show “60 Minutes”.  It has applied to the FAA for permission to fly test flights near its Washington headquarters. Amazon Prime Air would be used to deliver packages within 30 minutes of its distribution centers.

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