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Amazon gets the official green light from the FAA to begin its Prime Air drone delivery trials

This is a huge win for Amazon.

Prime Air Drone
Image: Amazon

Amazon is one step closer to delivering packages directly to your front door via a drone. Today, the company got its FAA approval to start operating its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones, reports CNBC. This means that soon, you’ll be able to place an order and have it delivered by a drone within a 30-minute window.

Now, this doesn’t mean Amazon will start making drone deliveries right away, but getting the thumbs up from the FAA is a crucial part of the equation. The approval allows Amazon to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the FAA said. They’re even giving the company the ability to deliver goods on small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator. Being able to fly a drone beyond a visual line of sight is a huge no-no for most consumer drones.

“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,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, says in a statement. “We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30 minute delivery.”

This has been a long time coming. Amazon has been actively testing these drones for a while now. The company isn’t saying where they plan to test its commercial delivery trials, but we do know they have test sites in Virginia and somewhere outside of the Vancouver area. We can probably expect to see more of these testing sites pop up elsewhere later this year.

Getting the FAA’s approval to do this was no easy feat. According to CNBC, “Amazon went through rigorous training and submitted detailed evidence that its drone delivery operations are safe, including demonstrating the technology for FAA inspectors.”

Amazon isn’t the first company to get FAA approval for drone deliveries. Wing and UPS are already conducting FAA-approved trials. Wing is delivering over-the-counter medicine for FedEx in Virginia while UPS is delivering prescriptions in North Carolina.

So as you can see, drone deliveries are coming to a doorstep near you very soon and the wheels are already in motion. Let’s just hope they iron out all the kinks during these trial phases.

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