According to an article by New York Times reporter Concepción de León, as well as other reports, Amazon.com has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to use drone aircraft. The article stated that the FAA issued a “Part 135 air carrier certificate to Amazon for its fleet of Prime Air drones” on Monday.
The e-commerce giant has long-since hoped to use drones to deliver parcels quicker. The certification was reportedly a crucial step towards meeting the goal of delivering packages in 30 minutes or less. David Carbon, the vice president of Amazon.com’s Prime Air, reacted to the news in a statement, commenting that the certification “indicates the [FAA’s] confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver around the world.”
The New York Times article further reported that Carbon’s statement also noted how the company would continue to conduct research and development to “fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace,” in consultation with the FAA and other regulators. The FAA issuance reportedly comes after Amazon unveiled a “fully electric hexagonal drone that could carry up to five pounds,” at a conference last year. The prototype had “advanced spatial awareness technology that allowed it to avoid contact with other objects,” the company explained.
Amazon joins two other companies already accredited with FAA Part 135 certificates: Wing Aviation LLC, owned by parent company Alphabet Inc., and the United Parcel Service of America, Inc. which was granted a certificate for its “UPS Flight Forward” drone-powered delivery service. According to the New York Times, earlier this month, secretary of transportation Elaine L. Chao stated that the federal agency would grant $7.5 million to universities asked to research “the safe integration of drones into our national airspace.”