Amazon Prime Air gets an updated FAA exemption


In a 9-page legal letter, with 28 itemized conditions and limitations, the FAA issued an exemption to Amazon to enable Prime Air to test in US airspace.

The FAA letter, dated April 8th, was filled with pages of legalese, but still limits testing to VLOS (visual line of sight) instead of autonomous flight, and flight controlled by a human operator. Amazon’s drones can not fly faster than 100 miles per hour, fly higher than 400 feet above ground level, and can not weigh more than 55 pounds, according to the letter.


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  • T3

    Also note that every sinlge RC helicopter sicne around 2004 is using a gyroscope altering tail rotor pitch, called often fligth stabilisation etc but it doesn't makes the flight autonomous. A multicopter with so-called autopilot with 3-axis gyro and accelerometers, stabilising thrust of 4 propellers, but reacting to user input as relative movement directors, is for the same reason MANUAL flight using electronic stabilisation aid, no matter that this stabiliser is called an autopilot and potentially might navigate the machine wherever you want.

  • T3

    "limits testing to VLOS (visual line of sight) instead of autonomous flight," This phrase shows misunderstanding of the subject. VLOS/BLOS means range of operation. It deoasnt defines if this is autonomous or not. A flight withing VLOS can be autonomous, or manual (RC mode). BLOS flight might be autonomous. or manual (FPV flight with camera transmitter). There is also intermetdiary stage, concernign drones, very close to manual flight: every quadcopter requires automated stabilisation and this is often called an autopilot, yet not every fligth using enabled so-called autopilot is autonomous, it the autopilot requires constant user inputs for navigation and decision making.

  • Amazon shows muscle

  • I bet there was a lot of political pressure on the FAA to get this done.  

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