FAA: Amazon can start testing drones in the US

Amazon got one step closer to delivery by drone. (Photo via Amazon/Reuters)
Amazon got one step closer to delivery by drone. (Photo via Amazon/Reuters)

Years after Amazon shipped its drones overseas to shoot the promotional video for its same-day delivery-by-drone concept, the Federal Aviation Administration has given the company a preliminary green light to test one model of drone in US airspace, the FAA announced Thursday. 

The organization issued an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate that mandates that the company fly its crafts no higher than 400 feet. Also, a pilot with a license must operate the crafts and keep them within visible range.

Local drone makers have long lamented the FAA’s intolerance of  commercial crafts in US airspace — Helen Greiner, founder of CyPhy Works, which makes small tethered drones that fly in the air for long periods is among the most vocal. Grenier’s chief concern is that the FAA’s penchant for heckling commercial drone makers is crippling their competitive edge.

But in recent months, the FAA has been loosening its stance; CNN’s reporting drones, and insurance company State Farm’s photography drones are among the latest to get the administration’s blessing to go airborne.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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