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Amazon Pleads With the FAA Over Drone Delivery Service

by Brandon Russell | July 11, 2014July 11, 2014 6:00 pm PST

Amazon Prime Air (1)

Amazon still isn’t giving up on its drone delivery service despite Federal Aviation Administration disapproval. In a new letter, the company pleads with the FAA for an exemption that would allow Amazon to test its delivery drones outside in the Seattle area. As if that city wasn’t gloomy enough, now Amazon wants to subject locals to flying delivery robots. That doesn’t sound post-apocalyptic, does it?

Amazon argues that the tests would be for research purposes, and would ultimately benefit consumers. Tests have already been conducted indoors, and Amazon says its drones are capable of delivering packages of up to 5 pounds as quickly as 30 minutes or less. If Amazon were to get permission for its controversial service, the company claims Prime Air could become the preferred delivery method, and would “be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.”

The FAA has some pretty clear rules about why drones are considered hobby aircrafts. But since Amazon would be breaking some of these rules—flying beyond the line of sight of the operator, and flying model aircraft for payment or commercial purpose—it really has no chance to be a viable business. Amazon’s letter says the same regulations should be applied to its Prime Air service as with hobbyists, but the FAA disagrees, and has even threatened legal action should Amazon try and make drone deliveries.

“It is a necessary step toward realizing the consumer benefits of Amazon Prime Air and, at this point, Amazon’s continuing innovation in the United State requires the requested exemption for outdoor testing in support of our R&D,” Amazon said in its letter.

Oh, so that drone that just dropped a package onto the freeway by mistake is because of innovation. Maybe the FAA should rethink its stance on Amazon’s service.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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