Amazon sought out less restricted airspace in Canada to test its unmanned drone delivery system earlier this year but the move may be short-lived. That’s because Amazon could launch the anticipated service in about a year’s time.
Michael Whitaker, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, told a congressional committee yesterday that the regulations to govern commercial drone operation in public airspace will be in place within a year. As Engadget notes, that’s much sooner than the FAA’s initial 2017 forecast.
Amazon’s Vice President of Global Public Policy, Paul Misener, told the committee his company would like to begin delivering shipments to customers as soon as the regulations are in place. He added that they are working very quickly to have the technology to take flight within the year.
The e-commerce giant first unveiled plans to deliver packages using autonomous drones in December 2013. During a segment on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos showed off the idea which he called Amazon Prime Air.
At the time, many thought it might be a joke but as we soon learned, Bezos wasn’t kidding around. Almost immediately, other big-name companies like UPS and Google announced they were also working on similar projects.
Bezos said its domestic drone delivery service would be able to deliver packages up to five pounds in weight to customers living within 10 miles of one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. The company clearly sees this as a viable option, especially in densely populated urban areas where traditional means of transportation are slow at best.