Under the rules of the FAA Certificate, drone operators at Amazon will be allowed to fly their unmanned aircraft during the days and at altitudes of 122 meters (400 feet). The flying machines will be required to be within sight of the pilot, who must also hold a pilot’s license.
According to Schulman, “The problem is that several companies have been designing and developing drones for years without being subjected to such regulations.”
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon unveiled his desire for Prime Air back in 2013, which promised octocoptor drones with the ability to deliver a purchase within half an hour or less. But the online company has since failed to get this ambition off the ground because the drone industry has been at locker-heads in legal midpoint for some years now. The FAA had initially banned commercial unmanned aerial systems (with a couple of exceptions) until a time when regulators could enact a set of rules for the industry to adhere to. The long awaited regulations well rolled in by the FAA is February, and they came with noteworthy limitations. Notable among these limitations, the regulations require the person flying the drone to always be within sight of the unmanned aircraft, which would certainly limit the use of drone to deliver products.
When the regulations came into effect, Paul Misener, vice president for global policy at Amazon, said his company was prepared for the launch of the Prime Air Service “in areas where there’s the regulatory support needed.” In a letter written to FAA legislators in December 2014, Misener stated that Amazon had already began performing outdoor tests for the company’s delivery drones in countries with what he said were supportive and conducive environments for drone innovation.
The current FAA proposal is still going on and is set to be concluded in sometime in the upcoming months on the United States Federal Register, and it may take up to a year for the proposed regulation to be fully become law.
The draft regulation which has already undergone a decade in the making still has to go through public comments and revisions before being implemented. If the current form goes on and becomes law, it would greatly deter Amazon’s innovative quest to deliver purchased packages using drones, since it requires the drone operator to be within sight and to be in possession of a FAA pilot’s license. It’s one factor that’s not in the online retail giant’s delivery plan.
Different jurisdictions have taken a permissive approach to delivery drones. DHL has already used drones to deliver packages in parts of Germany, making it the first to operate such flights in Europe.