Amazon just got one step closer to near-instant delivery.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Amazon approval to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones. The announcement is a milestone in the retail giant’s longtime effort toward unmanned delivery.
The FAA says it now gives Amazon broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers” by drone. Additionally, the certification gives Amazon the go-ahead to fly small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the drone’s operator. In other words, Amazon workers can control the drones from a remote location.
Amazon may not be ready to start shipping out millions of packages through the air just yet. But it has stated that it will use the FAA’s approval to begin testing customer deliveries. The company has already been through rigorous training, submitting detailed evidence to the FAA that their drones are safe.
“This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement. “We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”
Mind you, Amazon is not the only player in what’s becoming a game of drones. Last April, the FAA gave approval to a drone delivery endeavor called Wing, which is owned by Alphabet, parent of Google. Additionally, the FAA gave the green light to UPS to operate a fleet of drones as an airline last October.
I want it now!
Prime Air has become a focal point in Amazon’s effort to get packages to Prime members as quickly as possible. Since last year, the company has put billions of dollars toward replacing two-day delivery with one-day delivery. Through the use of drones, Amazon hopes to up the ante. They are aiming to fulfill deliveries in under a half hour. But that’s a long term goal. When exactly drones will deliver all packages in under 30 minutes is up in the air.