Amazon gets to play with drones

predator-firing-missile4Amazon has won approval from US federal regulators to test a delivery drone outdoors, less than a month after it blasted regulators for dragging their feet on approving commercial drone testing.

The Federal Aviation Administration had approved an Amazon prototype drone in March, but the company told US lawmakers less than a week later that the prototype had already become obsolete while it waited more than six months for the agency’s permission.

The FAA granted Amazon’s request to test delivery drones in a letter dated Wednesday, posted on the agency’s website.

Under the rules Amazon must keep flights lower than 400 feet and no faster than 100 miles per hour.

Amazon wants to sending packages to customers by air, using small, self-piloted aircraft. The FAA is caught between a rock and a hard place. While companies like Amazon are screaming to be allowed to use drones, there is public concern about safety and privacy.

Amazon wants to use drones to deliver packages to its customers over distances of 10 miles (16 km) or more, which would require drones to travel autonomously while equipped with technology to avoid collisions with other aircraft.