Amazon has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate as an unmanned airline in the United States, paving the way for it to begin offering commercial deliveries on a trial basis, Bloomberg reports. The FAA said the solution allowed Amazon to “deliver packages safely and efficiently to customers,” according to CNBC, and left its drones carrying packages out of the operator’s field of vision.
“This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air,” said David Carbon, Amazon’s vice president of Prime Air. Bloomberg, adding that the decision “shows the FAA̵
The highlight comes for Amazon, which announced its Prime Air plans back in 2013. But hardware limitations, not to mention health and safety regulations, presented major challenges for the company. He made his first successful drone delivery in Cambridge, England in 2016, but a regular commercial service never followed. Even now, Bloomberg notes that there are many obstacles that stand in the way of Amazon and its competitors, which make routine deliveries. The FAA is expected to finalize new rules for drones to fly over crowds before the end of the year.
Amazon told Bloomberg that he intends to start doing delivery tests, but declined to provide further details.
Last year, Amazon unveiled the latest version of its drone delivery, which is able to take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly forward like an airplane. Amazon said it intends to produce electric drones capable of flying up to 15 miles, deliver packages weighing less than five kilograms and do so in 30 minutes or less. At the time, Amazon said it intended to start shipping packages “within a few months,” but the service has not yet been implemented.
Amazon is far from the only company to receive FAA certification, Bloomberg notes. The native company, Google Wing, secured approval to make deliveries last April, and later said it was the first commercial drone delivery service in the United States when it began offering deliveries in Virginia later that year. UPS is also testing the use of drones to transport medical supplies in North Carolina in partnership with Matternet.