Thursday 8 December 2016

Amazon wins approval to test its delivery drones in US

Published 11/04/2015 | 02:30

Conveyor belts pass through the product packaging system inside the new Amazon Inc. fulfilment center on its official day of opening in Bielany Wroclawskie, Poland, on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. The company announced on Monday that it's taking preorders for a streaming media stick that plugs into a TV, making it possible to watch a range of Internet video services. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
Conveyor belts pass through the product packaging system inside the new Amazon Inc. fulfilment center on its official day of opening in Bielany Wroclawskie, Poland, on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. The company announced on Monday that it's taking preorders for a streaming media stick that plugs into a TV, making it possible to watch a range of Internet video services. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
A SteadiDrone QU4D Quadrocopter carries a GoPro Hero 2 camera unit during a test flight. Photo: Martin Divisek/Bloomber

Amazon has won approval from US federal regulators to test a delivery drone outdoors, less than a month after the e-commerce powerhouse blasted regulators for being slow to approve drone testing.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had earlier given the green light to an Amazon prototype drone in March, but the company told US lawmakers less than a week later that the prototype had already become obsolete while it waited more than six months for FAA permission.

The agency granted Amazon's request to test delivery drones in a letter posted on the agency's website. Amazon must keep flights at an altitude of no more than 400 feet and no faster than 100mph, according to the letter. Seattle-based Amazon.com has been pursuing its goal of sending packages to customers by air, using small, self-piloted aircraft, even as it faces public concern about safety and privacy.

Amazon employs about 1,400 people in Ireland and recently announced that it would hire an additional 300 staff over the next two years at its Dublin base. The company wants to use drones to deliver packages to its customers over distances of 10 miles or more. This would require drones to travel autonomously while equipped with technology to avoid collisions with other aircraft.

Irish Independent

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