Amazon’s Autonomous Delivery Drones – How FAA Stands on Private Drones Issue
The breaking news that made Charlie Rose go “OH MY GOD!” on CBS’s 60 Minutes show is worth a few exclamation marks. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed Rose something that apparently he hadn’t dreamt of.
Amazon is changing the ways it delivers items to its consumers. After offering Sunday deliveries, the company is now set to be all innovative introducing autonomous Amazon drones namely Prime Air!
Amazon drones – Prime Air shipping:
Amazon’s autonomous drones will complete the delivery tasks in 30 minutes after consumers place an order. These autonomous drones are in testing and can right now deliver a 5 pound package (86% of items sold on Amazon) up to 10 miles away from any Amazon fulfillment center. Through out United States, Amazon has some 96 such fulfillment centers to speed up shipping process.
These unmanned drones will carry the packages and might prove very useful in urban cities avoiding traffic delays and supporting quick deliveries to consumers. However, Bezos doesn’t want us to get too happy too early.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has shown its intention to use private drones in domestic airspace but it is yet to answer privacy and security concerns. Besides safety and privacy concerns, there are FAA regulations to be met too. Bezos commented the earliest the regulations can be changed is 2015.
“I don’t want anyone to think this is just around the corner. This is years of additional work from this point. I’m an optimist – four or five years, I think so.” – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
In September this year, FAA released its roadmap to integrate private drones into domestic airspace. The documents show FAA’s inclination towards bringing private drones in effect. However, a plenty of issues and critical concerns were mentioned if and when private drones do come out in place.
From privacy and civil liberties considerations to national security concerns, FAA might have to develop a new set of framework that may be required with the integration of private unmanned aircraft into domestic airspace. FAA is currently implementing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test sites to gain better operational understanding on these unmanned aircrafts.
Integrating public and civil UAS into the NAS carries certain national security implications, including security vetting for certification and training of UAS-related personnel, addressing cyber and communications vulnerabilities, and maintaining/enhancing air defense and air domain awareness capabilities in an increasingly complex and crowded airspace. – FAA’s Integration of UAS into NAS Roadmap.
While unmanned Amazon drones may instantiate the package delivery process and in fact innovate the industry altogether, it cannot be implemented right away. Security, privacy and operational concerns keep looming over the Aviation industry. But we hope to Amazon delivery drones Prime Air fleet as it gets FAA approvals and meet safety testing!