Amazon Inc. might have gotten a step further to their ambitious plan of using drones for delivery and drop orders directly to your doorstep. Amazon has become one of the few companies that have been approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration for the use of drones.
However, the terms of the license granted to amazon are different from the one issued to other companies. The FAA granted to Amazon an “experimental airworthiness certificate” that will allow for research and development flights.
The conditions to be met in order to operate the drones states that flights will have to be confined to daylight hours, up to an altitude of 400 feet in good weather conditions. The drone must remain in sight of the operator, who must have at least a private pilot’s license, and Amazon will have to submit a monthly report to the FAA that includes the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.
The interest of the FAA in the technical results of Amazon during their experiment might implied the possibility that the FAA is considering that the use and operation of drones under certain circumstances might not represent a danger to population. This of course would have to be validated by the Amazon reports.
If is on Amazon the task to show the positive and safe use of drones in everyday life, we might have hope. Amazon will have to work out a way for drones to navigate safely to addresses avoiding trees, lampposts, buildings, people, and other drones and prove to the FAA that this does not represent a danger to people. They would also have to land safely and take off again without risk of harming anyone nearby.
The official transcript of the certificate can be read here.