Amazon took another step towards drone delivery via Prime Air. The company now has approval from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin testing unmanned commercial deliveries. Despite the green light, there is still no forecast of when the system will start operating.
Prime Air is a relatively old project – its announcement was made in 2013, in order to make deliveries faster (more precisely, promising deliveries within 30 minutes). And, like just about everything new in the world of technology, there were many barriers to putting it into practice.
Security concerns have always been central issues in discussions on the subject. This is because to make deliveries effectively, these vehicles would have to go beyond the area of vision of their operators, which tends to be more worrying in areas with high population density and urban centers with many buildings and obstacles.
The recent FAA approval indicates that things can start moving faster for the e-commerce giant.
In a statement to the Bloomberg, Prime Air Vice President David Carbon said that “this certification is an important step and indicates FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operational and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service.” Still according to the executive, the expectation is to carry out this type of operation worldwide.
In the last year, Amazon introduced a drone that is capable of traveling 24 kilometers carrying parcels weighing around 2 kilos. It relies on visual, temperature and ultrasonic sensors, as well as machine learning, to safely fly, with technology capable of predicting and preventing accidents.
There are still no details on when the tests will actually start. The guidelines will be adapted from the safety rules that airlines have to follow when offering commercial airline services – without the parts that concern the onboard crew and passengers, of course. The FAA says it is developing more suitable standards for this type of operation, and should present them by the end of this year.