Amazon Threatens FAA To Move Drone Program Overseas

In a letter sent Sunday to the Federal Aviation Administration, Amazon called for additional stateside testing permissions.

At present, the idea of drone delivery for the online retailer is years away if it’s to happen now. That’s not to say that, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is not keen to continue testing drones for the day that they are cleared to use them in the United States. In the meantime, in addition to drone testing, Amazon has begun using taxis to provide same day delivery in NYC and now Amazon is shifting to bike delivery in Manhattan as well.

Bicycles for now

The program presently in beta testing  is called Amazon Prime Now and “mimics the immediacy of in-store shopping by bringing some merchandise to customers in Manhattan within one hour or two.” They have even built a clubhouse for their bike messengers that has a foosball table and other amenities.

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Back to the drone program, In a letter to the FAA (viewed by the Wall Street Journal) Amazon threatened to move more of its drone program overseas if the FAA doesn’t allow the retailer to begin flights in the United States soon.

“Without the ability to test outdoors in the United States soon, we will have no choice but to divert even more of our [drone] research and development resources abroad,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy wrote.

Europe is the testing ground for Amazon, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is hoping to use drones to deliver small items in about 30 minutes in some markets, but the FAA is slow to grant exceptions to its effective ban on all commercial drone flights. It will be years before the FAA even considers commercial drone flights given the risk to air and ground traffic that they pose but Amazon wants promises that it will receive the aforementioned exceptions.

Europe has granted thousands of exceptions for commercial drone flights while the FAA has granted less than ten and Amazon is clearly becoming frustrated.

Amazon is presently test flying its drones in Cambridge, England which requires no paperwork given its remote location, Google is presently testing in Australia., Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently railed against U.S. regulations at a Business Insider conference saying “I think it is sad but possible that the U.S. could be late.”