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This undated image provided by Amazon.com shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs. AP

Amazon Says FAA Proposals Won't Ground Drone Delivery Plans

Feb 16, 2015

Amazon said Monday it remains committed to developing unmanned aerial devices to deliver products to customers, even as proposed federal regulations seemed to rule out the possibility of a drone delivery service.

The proposed rules governing small drones, released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Sunday, would require that operators pilot the vehicles with "unaided vision" and would prohibit them from flying over people. Both seem to conflict with Prime Air, Amazon's vision of flying automated drones to the homes of customers.

But Amazon said it would continue to work on drone deliveries while the FAA proposals were under consideration. "The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers," said Amazon executive for public policy Paul Misener. "We are committed to realizing our vision."

A press release from the FAA announcing the regulations stressed that the agency "tried to be flexible in writing these rules." The agency said it still seeking comment on the proposals, which are expected to take up to two years to become law, particularly the potential requirement that operators be able to see the craft they are operating.

“We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Amazon suggested that it would fight a regulation that effectively banned the service."[We] are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need," said Misener.

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Employees collect merchandise ordered by customers for shipment from the Amazon.com distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
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Employees collect merchandise ordered by customers for shipment from the Amazon.com distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Employees collect merchandise ordered by customers for shipment from the Amazon.com distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
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Merchandise sits on shelves before shipment at the Amazon.com Inc. distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 26, 2012.
An employee packs merchandise for shipment at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona, Dec. 2, 2013.
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