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Hope for Prime Air drone delivery as Amazon wins testing permit

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Amazon Prime Air

The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded Amazon permission to begin working towards its Air Prime drone delivery service on home soil.

The special permission allows the company to use unmanned aircraft (UAS) outdoors, for research and development and crew training

However, the company won’t be sending packages across U.S. cities any time soon due to the stringent conditions outlined in the agreement.

“Under the provisions of the certificate,” the FAA wrote (via The Verge), “all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions.

The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.”

Both the height and line-of-site restrictions outlined in the award, plus the existing regulations, make it difficult for Amazon to engage in any trial schemes of note.

However, today’s news represents the first sign of progress for the company after continually meeting regulatory roadblocks.

Last month, Amazon’s hopes were dealt a serious blow by new rules governing commercial drone use that forebode cargo dropping, while the company had previously been denied permission to test the craft outdoors.

Until now Jeff Bezos’ company has been testing the scheme inside its labs and overseas where regulations relating to commercial drone use are more relaxed.

Read more: Parrot CEO talks drone restrictions

Amazon had threatened to move the entire operation oversees if it didn’t receive more assistance from the FAA and today’s announcement may be a sign the regulator’s stance is beginning to soften.

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