Amazon has started begging US aviation authorities to let it start testing drones in its own backyard, according to a letter that was made public Thursday. The request explains that Amazon wants to test drones outside of the testing sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
There are six FAA-approved sites scattered throughout the country for testing drones like those to be used by Amazon, but the company claims it could innovate more quickly if it could test closer to home.
Amazon’s plea includes some new details about how well the project is going. Its drones, it claims, can now travel at over 80km/h while carrying a 2kg package, and it’s now developing systems — with a team made up of roboticists, scientists, aeronautical engineers, remote-sensing experts and a former NASA astronaut — to improve agility, flight duration and obstacle avoidance too.
In fact, Amazon is on its ninth drone iteration. For what seemed, and perhaps is, a rather large marketing stunt, it’s sure taking it seriously. Whether the FAA will listen to all that, though, remains to be seen. [FAA via CNET]