Owing to long delays by the US government’s Federal Aviation Administration, Amazon has claimed that its delivery drone is already obsolete.
Last week, Amazon finally received permission from the FAA to test its delivery drones outdoors, but the company has stated that the government isn’t moving quick enough to allow any sort of meaningful development, and has claimed that the drone, which was initially put forward for regulation, has already been superseded by newer technology.
The drones are intended to deliver products the same day as they’re ordered, to users within a 10-mile radius of dispatch centres, but testing is proving increasingly difficult owing to government restrictions.
Amazon’s vice president for Global Public Policy, Paul Misener, said: “while the FAA was considering our applications for testing, we innovated so rapidly that the [drone] approved last week by the FAA has become obsolete. We don’t test it anymore. We’ve moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad.”
The retail behemoth has argued that, by having to continually apply for new permissions (for more advanced drones), it will be left behind in a rapidly evolving market place, owing to the time it takes for the FAA to process its applications.
The FCC currently subjects drones to the same scrutiny as traditional, manned aeroplanes, leading to applications being a drawn out affair and Amazon has implored the US government to emulate the European Aviation Safety Agency, which has classified drones as an altogether new technology, allowing for newer forms of regulation.
While some would argue that the 18 months it took the FAA to sign off on Amazon’s application is an inordinately long time in the world of technology, the regulation of fast moving, potentially dangerous, flying vehicles isn’t something which can be rushed. That said, unless some concessions are made to development, Amazon’s home country could be the only one left behind when the vehicles are finally deployed.