The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given approval for Amazon to operate its Prime Air delivery drones, an idea billionaire owner Jeff Bezos first introduced in 2013.
The approval means the drones can be operated “beyond the visual line of sight” by operators. Amazon says it will soon begin testing the delivery technology, which is supposed to cut wait times for orders from days to hours and eventually minutes. The company also plans on eventually introducing the delivery practice across the globe.
“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,” Prime Air Vice President David Carbon said through a public statement.
Carbon added the goal is to implement a system where customers can receive an order 30 minutes after it is placed through the company.The company petitioned for approval from the FAA in August of last year and stated initial deliveries will be for packages five pounds or lighter and they will occur in areas with low population density.
Bezos, who is worth around $200 billion, has been a controversial figure as his fortune grew even more during the current Covid-19 pandemic, and he has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump due to his ownership of The Washington Post. Amazon founder also has a history of working with the CIA with contracts for cloud computing. The combination of his billionaire status, the growth of Amazon, and his hand in both the media and government has earned Bezos plenty of critics beyond just the president.
However, Amazon will not be the only company buzzing around delivery drones in the air in the near future. Wing and UPS have already gotten FAA approval for their own drones.