Amazon seeking permission to deliver packages via drones

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Letter sent to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeks usage of self-guided aircrafts.
By Ian Marsh | Nov 14, 2015
In an Associated Press news report July 12, Amazon sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this past week requesting permission to use aircraft drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

The news sent shares of the nation's largest e-commerce company up nearly 6 percent on July 11. Amazon's stock rose $18.28, or 5.6 percent, to close at $346.20 on July 11. The stock is down about 18 percent since the beginning of the year.

In the letter to the FAA dated July 9, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds. About 86 percent of Amazon's deliveries are 5 pounds or less, the company said.

The FAA allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned. Amazon is asking for an exemption so it can test its drones in the U.S. The Seattle-based company says its drone testing will only take place over Amazon's private property, away from airports or areas with aviation activity and not in densely populated areas or near military bases.

"We're continuing to work with the FAA to meet Congress's goal of getting drones flying commercially in America safely and soon," said Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, in a statement. "We want to do more research and development close to home."

According to Fox News, the FAA is slowly moving forward with guidelines on commercial drone use. Last year, Congress directed the agency to grant drones access to U.S. skies by September 2015. But, the agency already has missed several key deadlines and said the process would take longer than Congress expected. The FAA did not respond to a request for comment.

So far, two drone models Boeing and the Insitu Group's ScanEagle, and AeroVironment's Puma are certified to operate commercially, but only in Alaska.



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