The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted federal approval to Amazon for using Prime Air drones for delivery. FAA has issued a Part 135 air carrier certificate taking an important step towards realizing the future of drone deliveries.
To receive the approval, Amazon was required to submit proof and demonstration of the safety of operations the drones. The primary operation was a drone delivery service at the doorsteps of customers. They confirmed over 500 safety and efficiency processes for the certificate of approval.
The company has been developing this technology for years in order to reach the aim of 30-minute deliveries. In an interview in 2013, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon predicted that drones will become an everyday reality within 5 years. Even though Amazon is not there yet, they are close enough. In March, David Carbon joined Amazon as vice president of Prime Air to take a lead on the drone delivery project.
They have already started offering 1-day delivery services in many places. In 2019, there was a conference in Las Vegas where the company also revealed the design of a fully electric hexagonal drone. This drone was capable of carrying a weight of up to 5 pounds. It also came with an advanced spatial awareness technology that prevented it from making contact with things in its vicinity. Amazon has also set up test centers around the world. They are tirelessly logging in thousands of hours of flight to ensure seamless progress in the technology.
The first two companies to receive Part 135 air carrier certificate were UPS Flight Forward and Wing Aviation. Wing Aviation is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. Now, Amazon is only the third company to receive the same. None of the companies have started drone service on a wider basis yet.
However, the FAA is showing strong confidence and providing financial backing in this technology. Later in August, Elaine L. Chao, the Transportation secretary announced that about $7.5 million are being granted to various universities to further the research on “the safe integration of drones into the national airspace”.