Quoted: Amazon complains about FAA’s slow action on drones

“The (FAA) already has adequate statutory authority. What the FAA needs is impetus, lest the United States fall further behind.”

Paul Misener, Amazon.com’s vice president for global public policy, in written testimony submitted Tuesday to the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. Last week, the FAA gave Amazon permission to test its delivery drones in the United States, but Misener says that it took too long — more than six months. That prototype drone? It’s already obsolete.

“We’ve moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad,” Misener said, according to Reuters, which notes that countries that have moved to open up airspace for commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) include Australia, Canada, the U.K. and France.

Misener said “nowhere outside of the United States have we been required to wait more than one or two months to begin testing.”

Meanwhile, the FAA on Tuesday released somewhat looser rules for those already cleared to fly drones in the U.S., which could also help speed things up a little.

Current FAA rules, which are expected to be finalized next year or in 2017, prohibit the flying of many drones for commercial use. The FAA has granted exemptions for a few dozen specific business applications.

According to Reuters, Amazon has applied for permission to test a more advanced drone system and is hoping the FAA doesn’t take as long to give the thumbs up this time.

 

Above: Amazon released this photo of a prototype delivery drone on Dec. 1, 2013. (Amazon/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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