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Amazon gets green light for US drone delivery expansion

Amazon gets green light for US drone delivery expansion
Amazon gets green light for US drone delivery expansion

Amazon can now scale up its drone delivery presence and reach more customers in the US.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulator cleared Amazon’s Prime Air drone program to operate its drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).

Regarding commercial drones, regulators worldwide have been formulating new regulations to allow more complex parcel deliveries to take place beyond the BVLOS. 

BVLOS means a drone can fly where the remote pilot can’t see it directly with their own eyes. It might sound unsafe, but the pilot is trained to always rely on instruments and technology to control the drone. 

“To obtain this permission, we developed a BVLOS strategy, including an onboard detect-and-avoid technology,” says Amazon. 

But it was not an easy road. They have spent years developing, testing, and refining the system to keep it safe. “[And] ensure our drones can detect and avoid obstacles in the air,” says Amazon.

Expansion of drone services

The immediate impact can already be seen in College Station, Texas, where more Amazon customers can now be reached by drone. The giant retailer will use its MK-27 drone in Texas to reach customers in “more densely populated areas.”

“Later this year, drone deliveries will begin integrating into Amazon’s delivery network. [This] means drones will deploy from facilities next to our same-day delivery sites. [It will] provide Amazon customers with faster delivery of an even greater selection of items,” clarifies Amazon.

Safety regulations for drones

Four years ago, Amazon received an Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA. This allowed it to operate as an airline and deliver small packages with a drone. However, with the new license, it will be able to reach far more areas than ever before. 

Amazon has set out its goal from day one. “To create a safe and scalable way to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using highly autonomous drones.” Although there are drone deliveries that happen much faster than that, Amazon is entering the competition for fast air deliveries. 

“To achieve our goal of delivering 500 million packages per year by drone, by the end of this decade, we knew we had to design a system capable of serving highly populated areas, and that was safer than driving to the store,” says Amazon. 

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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