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Amazon wants a special drone lane for Air Prime deliveries

Amazon wants to cordon off a segment of the skies where it can safely fly its Air Prime delivery drones.

The company has attempted to take a lead in the burgeoning sector by announcing a proposal to keep commercial UAVs away from airplanes by divvying up the airspace.

For Amazon’s own purposes (via Bloomberg), it wants a “high-speed transit zone” where drones can fly 200 to 400 feet above the ground. Slower, radio-controlled quad-copters without internet connections would be able to fly below 200 feet, Amazon proposes.

“Everyone can have access to the airspace,” Gur Kimchi of the Amazon Prime Air program said at a NASA sponsored summit on Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist or a corporation. If you’ve got the right equipment, you can fly.”

Amazon is also pushing for centralised tracking of drones, which involves them continually communicating their positions to a computer system. “We can only be safe and efficient if everybody else is safe and efficient,” Kimchi said.

Amazon is seeking to capitalise on recently relaxed regulations in the United States, which has opened the door for companies who’re seeking to use drones for commercial ends.

Currently those seeking to use drones must keep them beneath 400 feet, within the line of sight of the operator. Drones are also forbidden from flying within five miles of airports.

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Amazon’s Kimchi also wants marked off areas away from commercial flight paths, enabling users to experiment with drones at higher altitudes.

“We need a predefined low-risk area where people can experiment. We don’t have any plans to fly at 12,000 feet, but if that is something you are interested in, go for it!”

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