Photo (cc) by Don McCullough
Just five months after Amazon received the federal government’s approval to test drones, the company’s top executive is predicting its delivery drones will one day be as common as mail trucks.
The drone project is called Amazon Prime Air, and it’s underway at multiple research centers.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief executive, tells British publication The Telegraph:
“One day Prime Air deliveries will be as common as seeing a mail truck.”
While Bezos has been talking publicly about using unmanned drones to deliver Amazon purchases to customers since 2013, takeoff remains years away. He tells The Telegraph:
“Months sounds way too aggressive to me, so the timescale is measured in years. … But it will happen.”
Bezos did not disclose in which country the drone delivery service would launch first. But he indicated that the United Kingdom is in the running because its regulatory agencies “have been very advanced” compared with the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.
The biggest remaining challenge for Prime Air now is regulatory, Bezos said.
Amazon’s plan calls for airspace to be designated specifically for commercial drones. CNN Money reported of Amazon’s proposal:
Airspace of up to 200 feet would be reserved for “low speed localized traffic” like survey, inspection and video drones, including those without sense-and-avoid technology. Amazon said the airspace between 200 and 400 feet would be designated “high-speed transit” for “well-equipped vehicles.” That’s likely where its delivery drones would operate. The space between 400 and 500 feet would be a “no fly zone,” except for emergencies.
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