Amazon’s plan to deliver packages using drones moved a step closer after the etailer secured consent from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use the unmanned aircraft for research and development and crew training.
Amazon first announced its plans to use drones to deliver packages in the US in December 2013, but until now the technology has only been fully tested indoors.
Significant restrictions have been placed on Amazon’s use of the unmanned aircraft. The Experimental Airworthiness Certificate granted by the FAA enables the drones to be flown at or under 400 feet during daylight hours in good weather conditions, and the aircraft must stay within visual sight of the pilot and an observer.
The pilot flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.
The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The retailer must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.
Earlier this month footwear brand Crocs Japan used drones to deliver shoes to customers at a pop-up store in Tokyo.