In testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, Amazon says the Federal Aviation Administration’s snail-like pace in adopting commercial-friendly drone policies will keep the U.S. far behind its European counterparts.
Last week, the FAA announced it would allow Amazon to test its delivery drone outdoors. But Amazon officials say that it is no longer testing the prototype that it originally filed for, according to a Reuters report. As a result of trials the company has been able to run in other countries, it’s already moved onto other designs and prototypes.
“Nowhere outside of the United States have we been required to wait more than one or two months to begin testing,” said Paul Misener, vice president for global public policy at Amazon, in his testimony.
Amazon wants its autonomous drones to be able to cover a distance of ten miles or more to deliver products from its various warehouses.
However, the FAA is only willing to allow commercial drones to fly as far as the drone operator can see, and 500 feet high — a rule that would not accommodate Amazon’s operations.
The company had earlier warned that it would develop its drones elsewhere if the FAA didn’t play ball. Not only has the FAA not developed policies that are conducive to Amazon’s plans, but the federal agency won’t be expediting a final set of rules for commercial drones until sometime in 2016.
Other countries, including Australia, the U.K., and Canada, are already granting businesses certificates that authorize commercial drone flight. For the time being, Amazon is content to expand its business in these regions while it fights to fly its drones in the U.S.
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