FAA gives Amazon approval to expand drone deliveries

Amazon will now be allowed to operate drones remotely without needing a visual line of sight.
Amazon.com warehouse and fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Amazon has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand its drone delivery program.

The approval allows Amazon’s Prime Air delivery service to operate drones “beyond visual line of sight,” allowing longer distance deliveries.


The big picture: Amazon has been seeking this permission for several years, and it was granted after demonstrating the ability of its drones to detect and avoid obstacles in the air.

  • The company submitted engineering information and conducted flight demonstrations in the presence of federal inspectors and other aircraft to demonstrate the safety of its drone operations.
  • This FAA approval is a significant milestone for Amazon, which has had ambitions to deliver online orders using drones for over a decade.

Driving the news: In 2022, Amazon started limited drone deliveries in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. It plans to open a new drone delivery site in Tolleson, Arizona.

  • With the new authorization, Amazon aims to scale its drone delivery operations in College Station and expand to more densely populated areas.
  • The company has set a goal of delivering 500 million packages per year by drone by the end of the decade.
  • The approval from the FAA allows Amazon to operate its drones remotely, without pilots needing to visually observe them.
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