Amazon To Feds: We’ll Move Drone Research Overseas If We Can’t Do Outdoor Tests
Amazon sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration warning that it would move more of its drone research outside the United States if it wasn’t allowed to do more testing.
Amazon is currently testing its delivery drones, which it hopes will eventually be able to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less, in the United Kingdom. In its letter, Amazon said that it would prefer to do more testing in the US, but would move abroad unless it was able to do commercial testing outdoors, which is currently barred by the FAA.
Amazon has been testing its delivery drones in its indoor labs and at Business Insider’s recent Ignition conference, CEO Jeff Bezos described them as “truly remarkable.” In its letter, the company requests that it be able to test its delivery drones on “private property in a rural area of Washington State, away from people or crowds” under the supervision of trained pilots and at low altitudes using geofencing. The FAA grants “experimental certificates” to allow certain tests, but Amazon hasn’t been granted one yet.
“Without the ability to test outdoors in the United States soon, we will have no choice but to divert even more of our [drone] research and development resources abroad,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, writes.