Amazon (AMZN) Drone Delivery Plans Take a Big Step Forward

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) has been granted permission to test certain drones in its fleet, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration [FAA]. The FAA’s experimental airworthiness certificate however, does have restrictions. Amazon’s logistics unit will be allowed to use drones only for research, development and crew training on private, rural land in Washington state. All flight operations of unmanned aircraft must be conducted at 400 feet or below during the day in clear weather conditions, and must remain in the line-of-sight of their pilots. Additionally, Amazon is required to provide monthly data from its tests to the FAA. That information includes the number of test flights conducted, who operated the drones, and any communication or software/hardware malfunctions.

Amazon wants to develop the drone delivery system, which is designed to safely get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less, and offer it to Amazon Prime members. The Seattle, Washington-based e-commerce giant has previously tested the drone prototype outside the U.S. It first announced the project 15 months ago.

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