Looking Forward to Amazon Deliveries Via Drone? FAA Says Not So Fast
The future is now…on hold until further notice. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed drone regulations that will make Amazon’s future drone service (dubbed “Amazon Prime Air”) nearly impossible to implement. Unfamiliar with the online retailer’s plan to send packages via unmanned drone? Take at look at this video with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos featured on CBS This Morning.
The concept of drone ethics has become a hot-button issue both in the United States and abroad. Most recently, the off-Broadway play “Grounded,” starring Anne Hathaway, has brought issues regarding remote drone pilots into the spotlight.
Let’s highlight some clear benefits to delivery by drone in the United States. If small aircraft are being used, that means having fewer delivery trucks on the road, less fuel being consumed, and faster delivery times. Companies like Amazon and Google are urging the FAA to revise its irksome rules that impede the use of drone technology rather than accommodate it.
For example, under FAA rules all drone operators must fly aircraft “only within their line of sight.” While this rule might make sense for a recreational drone user, it does not necessarily make sense for a commercial drone that could be programmed to follow a GPS path to an exact location.
Speaking of recreational drone users–if you or anyone you know owns a drone, you could get into big trouble if you do not abide by the FAA’s policies regarding small, unarmed aircraft systems.
Seems like a lot of rules for a device that could be bought online for under a hundred bucks. In fact, on most sites there are no age restrictions to purchase drones. Are kids or teenagers going to know that flying drones above 400 feet is illegal? Are they even going to abide by the FAA’s rules even if they do know? Hopefully they don’t try to fly drones in harsh weather. Or fly too close to seagulls. Or interfere with local air traffic. (Suddenly smart phones don’t seem so dangerous anymore.)
The FAA has created conservative rules regarding drone use, and it is going to take its time evaluating comments from the public and private sectors while it revises those rules. Roughly speaking, it will take 18 to 24 months for the FAA to review everything and speak with Amazon regarding proposed policy changes.