FAA regulation issues will put damper on Amazon drone aspirations, says sources

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 18, 2013, 5:45pm CST
FAA regulation issues will put damper on Amazon drone aspirations, says sources

Jeff Bezos sees a future where Amazon packages are delivered to customers soon after an order is placed with the use of drones — in this case, with so-called octocopters. Drones have already seen use in other applications, among them being the movie industry where the devices are fixed with cameras and used to record otherwise difficult shots. While the technology exists and varieties of uses for it are cropping up at increasingly rapid rates, there’s one big barrier in the way: the FAA.

The use of drones in the United States for commercial applications — and certain other ones that perhaps fall beyond the dictionary definition of commercial — is a severely crippled industry at the moment, the reason being the effective lack of regulations regarding their use. Such regulations are the domain of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has thus far established a definition for what an aircraft is and isn’t, something that took place in 2007 and swept a large swath of drone-related ambitions under the rug.

Model remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters are the notable exception, of course, though there are limitations in place regarding those as well. When it comes to the regulation of the commercial use of drones, which often exceed the capabilities of model aircraft that, more often than not, stay within the eyesight of the operator and are able to achieve relatively short distances, the process is slow moving and rather uneventful.

One source in particular said to be familiar with the FAA’s regulation efforts is quoted as saying: “Nothing they’re contemplating right now fits with [Amazon’s drone delivery] vision. I don’t see it happening.” Another source, identified only as an FAA official, said: “We can’t even handle the simpler cases. This is taking ridiculously long. We’re hurting a lot of industries.”

As such, the drone industry is not at a stand-still, but rather it is one that has already gravitated beyond the confines in the United States to areas where regulatory efforts are moving much faster and have opened the door for uses that, with the proper go-ahead, could manifest in the skies above our own backyard.

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

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