Amazon received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday to operate its Prime Air delivery drones. This is a milestone that enables Amazon to expand the range and speed of unmanned package delivery. The FAA stated that this would give Amazon extensive powers to “deliver packages to customers safely and efficiently.”
Amazon began testing delivery drones in 2013, with the goal of delivering packages to customers’ doorsteps in 30 minutes or less. In August last year, the company filed a petition asking the FAA to approve these plans. Amazon stated in the petition that early delivery will be concentrated in areas with low population density, and the weight of the package will be 5 pounds or less.
Amazon launched a new electric delivery drone for the first time at last year’s MARS conference. It can deliver packages under 5 pounds to customers in half an hour and can fly continuously for 15 miles. Amazon Global Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said at the time that the drone could be used by the company to deliver packages “within a few months.”
Amazon is not the only company approved by the FAA. In April last year, Alphabet’s Wing became the first drone delivery company approved by the FAA for commercial delivery in the United States. UPS also received similar approval from the FAA in October last year.