Amazon can finally stop kvetching about not being able to test its delivery drones in the United States.
Bloomberg reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has given the company permission to test the latest versions inside the country.
The FAA previously granted Amazon permission to test its drones in the US, but the company complained that it would only be allowed to test an older version of the devices, making the tests all-but-useless in the company’s eyes.
That wasn’t the first time Amazon complained about the FAA’s rules. It was also upset with rules stating that businesses must not fly drones over bystanders, stay away from certain areas, and ensure pilots maintain line-of-sight with their drones.
All of these restrictions led Amazon to head North into British Columbia, where it’s reportedly able to test its drones in a supposed-to-be-secret facility. (The tests are said to have “the full blessing of the Canadian government.”)
Now it will be able to head back South. The FAA has granted Amazon an exemption that will allow it to use “an Amazon manufactured multi-rotor small UAS that has been described to the FAA in a confidential filing.”
But that doesn’t mean the FAA has lifted all the restrictions on Amazon’s program. The company will not be allowed to pilot drones weighing more than 55 pounds (including their cargo), exceed speeds of 100 mph, fly above 400 feet, or have the delivery drones leave a pilot’s line-of-sight.
[Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]