- Charl Jooste
FAA Gives Approval for Amazon’s Drone Delivery Fleet
Amazon has been at the forefront of pushing for unmanned aircraft deliveries for many years now. They have made significant progress but this latest development is a great success and a remarkable milestone. Amazon has just received FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approval for testing a fleet of drones to conduct deliveries.
Granted, it is only in the test stage for now but it is a significant development and something thing that Amazon has been pushing for years. The tests will be done in the U.S. and there are a few stages in the process before final permission is granted.
That being said, Amazon knows what they are doing and the FAA approval will allow them to prove the viability of this service before the technology is fully accepted and allowed to flourish. Amazon has wisely taken on a few other formidable forces in their quest including Google's Wing unit as well as UPS, all serious contenders in the same quest.
The reality of global consumer deliveries, among other opportunities for commercial drone services, is something that has been progressing slowly over the years. Approval from the FAA for these tests is a landmark occasion and sure to speed up the development of this amazing opportunity.
The time frame for these tests has yet to be confirmed but they are imminent. Testing sites have already been established around the globe including the U.K., Austria, and Canada. Successful results, which are expected, are likely to accelerate the drone delivery industry.
To put the scale of potential into perspective, there are more than 480,000 drones that have already been registered for commercial activity. The FAA is yet to finalize the regulations and permission to allow these drones to operate effectively. Once full approval is granted this number is expected to grow exponentially, within the constraints of the rules.
A significant factor in the permission for commercial drone operation is flying over areas that are populated. This has been one of the major stumbling blocks. This is something the new approval accounts for.
There is strength in numbers and Amazon was undoubtedly wise to join forces with other leading players such as Wing (a division of Google's holding company Alphabet) as well as stalwarts in the delivery business, UPS. This collective has the power and resources to not only drive FAA and government approval but to also demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the service.
Unmanned deliveries are a massive commercial and social opportunity. This is true, not only for the companies that provide the service but also for consumers. It also paves the way for a host of other affiliated services that can benefit the world.
Amazon obviously focused on the U.S. Market but have plans and resources available in several other companies around the globe. This testing approval bodes well for the future of unmanned aerial deliveries and the commercial drone industry in general.
Michael Huerta, former FAA Administrator, had the following to say: “This is a long time coming for Amazon. They are developing real-time data, which is helpful to the [FAA] and gives Amazon a lot of experience in working through the growing pains of getting this business established.”
Chief Executive of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, predicted drone deliveries would be a reality in 2018 (a statement he made in 2013), progress has been slower than anticipated. Fortunately, the FAA are coming to the party and approving critical testing that can prove the viability of this awesome opportunity.
UPS, among others, has received approval for drone deliveries in the at but this has generally been for medical supplies and humanitarian efforts. The new coalition of UPS, Wing, and Amazon is a major breakthrough in this industry.
There is still much that needs to be done by the industry players as well as the FAA but the future looks positive for commercial and related drone deliveries. This milestone demonstrates progress is happening.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal