Amazon conducted a test of Amazon Prime Air in the U.S. The online retail giant delivered a small box of sunscreen bottles to a meeting site. The company wants to deliver a five-pound package in less than 30 minutes. The drone flies at up to 50 mph to meet this goal.
U.S. regulations — like Part 107 — hamper Amazon Prime Air’s service in the country. Part 107 limits drone usage to the pilot’s line of sight. Of course, privacy issues concern the public and public officials.
Amazon delivered its first package using the service not too long ago. And the first delivery was…popcorn in the U.K. Amazon conducted the test in the U.K. since Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules make it hard to operate Amazon Prime Air in the U.S. Rules cover most of a drone’s potential in the private sector.
For example, drones must stay close enough to the operator to be seen with nothing more than corrective lenses. Plus, no one can operate a drone over people not involved in the drone’s usage.
These rules long frustrated Amazon. Other countries — like the U.K. — regulate drones less. Yahoo Finance managed to get an exclusive interview with Paul Misener, Amazon’s Vice President for Global Public Policy. Misener answered some fundamental questions about Amazon Prime Air.
DP: So which problem is harder to solve? The technological ones or the red tape?
PM: Well, the regulatory issues to which you refer are difficult. And once we demonstrate the safety of the system, we believe that the regulations will quickly follow.
DP: Do you have the drones you’ll be using?
PM: We have different prototypes we’re working on simultaneously—different kinds of drones for different kinds of delivery circumstances. Our customers in the United States live in hot, dry, dusty areas like Phoenix, but they also live in hot, wet, rainy environments like Orlando, or up in the Colorado Rockies.
Likewise, obviously, our customers live in a wide variety of buildings. Some live in a rural farmhouse. Some live in a high-rise city skyscraper. And then everything in between. In suburban and ex-urban environments. We want to be able to serve all those customers. And it may take a different kind of a drone to best work in each one.
Amazon Prime Air Has Some Issues
The company must solve some issues. The first being moving around apartments. Amazon may alter the design of the drones to operate in an urban locale. Other concerns include interference with air travel and noise.
Even some politicians joined the company in calling for better rules. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. was one of them. He called the FAA rules a “solid first step.” His top concern was that the rules limit drone operation to within the operator’s line of sight. Schumer wants that changed. Lastly, President Donald Trump’s pro-business positions may help make the drone service a reality in the U.S.
Source: Flying Magazine