A decade after promising drone deliveries, Amazon is still struggling to ramp up in this space today. Latest reports revealed that the company had only made fewer than ten deliveries in its first month of launch.
Well, this slow growth is blamed mostly on the FAA, which has a bunch of rules dictating how Amazon’s (or others’) drones should fly in urban areas. Yet, Amazon is optimistic about its progress and said to expand these services further.
Amazon Air Prime in the US
Reports from The Information and Business Insider reveal that Amazon’s drone delivery service has made lesser than 10 deliveries in its first month – and that too in a range of 4 miles in California and Texas.
Well, this slow growth or even failure of plans isn’t from Amazon’s side – but from the FAA’s! The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed such strict rules for drones that Amazon’s Prime Air is unable to grow beyond a handful of deliveries in its first month.
Here are some of the important rules,
- Operations over people are prohibited unless otherwise approved by the Administrator;
- Overflight of power plants is prohibited;
- Overflight of schools during times of operation (e.g., elementary, middle, high, preschool, and daycare facilities) is prohibited;
- Operations over or within 250 ft. laterally of moving vehicles are prohibited unless otherwise approved by the Administrator
- Overflight of any area deemed high risk by the Operator during the flight route design process is prohibited;
- Sustained flight within 250 ft. laterally of roadways is prohibited, and transitions over roadways are prohibited unless otherwise approved by the Administrator;
- The UA must remain at least 100 ft. laterally from any person during all phases of the flight unless otherwise approved by the Administrator.
To be honest, these rules aren’t specifically crafted for drones in the US, but mere exemptions on flying them in urban areas – as imposed by FAA. All these regulations come with a bunch of conditions to be compiled by the companies.
These may seem ridiculous, even for the customer – who can’t be anywhere near the parcel-dropping location if the drone is coming. FAA has a regulation for this, too – that Amazon should warn customers about what they’re signing up to.
Well, Amazon is sorting them out gradually, as a spokesperson talked to The Verge revealed.
“We remain committed to our delivery operations in Lockeford and College Station and will continue to offer a safe and exceptional drone delivery service to our customers in both locations. We’ll gradually expand deliveries to more customers in those areas over time.”