AI News, Amazon won't be able to fly its delivery drones under the FAA's proposed drone rules

Amazon won't be able to fly its delivery drones under the FAA's proposed drone rules

This undated image provided by shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs.

The proposed rules would require 'people flying drones for commercial purposes obtain a special pilot certificate, stay away from bystanders and fly only during the day,' Reuters reported.

'The FAA's proposed rules for small UAS could take one or two years to be adopted and, based on the proposal, even then those rules wouldn't allow Prime Air to operate in the United States,' said Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of Global Public Policy.

Back in December at Business Insider's Ignition conference, he said Amazon Prime Air's main hurdle would be regulatory, and that it saddens him that regulations will give the US a late start in the mainstream commercial drone usage game.

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FAA shoots down Amazon's drone delivery plans

Amazon says it is still committed to delivering products by drone despite new federal rules that it considers an obstacle to commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

Paul Misener, Amazon vice president for global policy, said the FAA's proposed new rules 'wouldn't allow Prime Air to operate in the United States.'' Prime Air is the name of Amazon's developmental program for drone delivery.

Under the proposed regulations, drones cannot fly over people not involved in the drone operations, and the drones must be flown by an observer on the ground who can maintain visual contact with the aircraft.

A spokeswoman for Domino's on Monday said the proposed new rules will have no impact on the pizza delivery chain because its 2013 drone delivery test, done by its 'master franchisee' for the United Kingdom, was a publicity stunt, she said.

Amazon Prime Air

Amazon Prime Air is planned to use multirotor Miniature Unmanned Air Vehicle (Miniature UAV),technology to autonomously fly individual packages to customers within 30 minutes of ordering.[1] To qualify for 30 minute delivery, the order must be less than 5 pounds (2.25 kg), must be small enough to fit in the cargo box that the craft will carry, and must have a delivery location within a 10-mile (16 km) radius of a participating Amazon order fulfillment center.[1] In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress issued the Federal Aviation Administration a deadline of September 30, 2015 to accomplish a 'safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.'[2] In August 2016 commercial use of UAV technology was legalized by the United States Congress.[3] In March 2015, the FAA granted Amazon permission to begin U.S. testing of a prototype under a waiver to the then regulations.

Amazon has stated it plans to fly drones weighing an up to 55 lb (25 kg) within a 10 mi (16 km) radius of its warehouses, at speeds of up to 50 mph (80.5 km/h) with packages weighing up to 5 lb (2.26 kg) in tow.[4] Amazon has patented a beehive-like structure to house delivery drones in cities, allowing Amazon to move from large single-story warehouses that temporarily store packages before they are shipped.[5] Fulfillment centres designed to accommodate drone deliveries and operations within a certain radius, are currently required.

Amazon and the FAA can't seem to agree on drones

Internet giants are testing pilotless aircraft to make home deliveries to online shoppers, energy companies want to use them to inspect pipelines, and Hollywood wants to send them aloft to help film big-budget movies.

But when it comes to federal regulations, the private and public sector have yet to agree on rules for using drones, which puts a damper on the technology fully getting off the ground in the business world.

Such a requirement would effectively prohibit Amazon’s Prime Air service, a sci-fi initiative unveiled last year that would use drones to deliver online orders to customers in thirty minutes within ten miles of an Amazon fulfillment center.

Rather than ban drone deliveries, Amazon wants a regulatory system that would let it prove to the FAA that it’s safe to fly the machines at long distances, beyond the line of sight of its employees.

Last week, the group—whose members include Amazon, Google, and several new drone companies—sent a note to the FAA pointing out that countries the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Sweden, and Norway already allow drones to be flown beyond an operator’s line of sight.

In March, the FAA finally relented and allowed the e-commerce titan to test its drones under a series of restrictions, including only flying drones during the day and never above 400 feet.

Jonathan Evans, CEO of Skyward, a startup working on software for managing drone traffic, explained in an interview with Fortune that there’s disconnect between how the FAA wants to regulate drones and how it currently regulates aircraft like a standard Boeing 747.

Evan’s startup is creating a wireless network for drones that can keep track of them and help companies ensure that their drones are flying on government-approved routes, similar to how airplanes must fly through approved lanes in the sky.

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The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday opened an avenue for would-be drone entrepreneurs to offer services that stretch beyond the immediate view of operators and to at least study the sort of autonomous package delivery services envisioned by Amazon Prime Air.

333 have required drones to remain within the line of sight of an operator — a limitation that undermines the economic viability of services like pipeline inspection and the remote sensing of vast agricultural fields.

“Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States by conducting private research and development operations outdoors near Seattle — where our next generation RD lab and distinguished team of engineers, scientists and aeronautical professionals are located.” Not only could Amazon be allowed to test Amazon Prime Air in the U.S., under the proposed rule, it could potentially test autonomous operation of such flights, said Bury.

An “operation could be operated autonomously,” Bury told reporters, if the flight stayed within the visual line of sight an operator who was able to “jump in and take over if flight circumstances require it.”

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