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Amazon seeks exemption to test drones outdoors in U.S.

Will we soon be seeing drones bringing Amazon merchandise to a home near you?
Will we soon be seeing drones bringing Amazon merchandise to a home near you?

For those who thought the announcement of using drones for deliveries was simply a publicity stunt by Amazon, according to the Publishers Lunch July 11 issue, the company is sincere about it.

Somehow it is a bit bizarre to picture fleets of Amazon drones flying around delivering books, boxes and heaven knows what else, but Amazon appears to be dead serious. Maybe there will be job openings for drone traffic cops or something of that nature. Who knows. Obviously there will have to be rules and regulations governing flight patterns, perhaps times of day and more. After all, who wants to look up at the friendly skies and see drones circling around like dragonflies? And, if it does come about, what will this mean to the publishing business as we know it?

“After the FAA made it clear in late June that they are still prohibiting commercial uses of drones, Amazon formally applied for an exemption from that regulation. News of that application has sent their stock up over 4 percent in Friday morning trading (almost $15 a share).”

In their letter, Amazon indicated they are experimenting with Prime Air inside their next generation research and development lab in Seattle. “In the past five months, we have made advancements toward the development of highly‐automated aerial vehicles for Prime Air." They write: "Granting Amazon an exemption to allow R&D testing outdoors in the United States is in the public interest because it advances Congress's goal of getting commercial sUAS flying in the United States safely and soon."

  • If the FTC does grant Amazon an exemption, it does not mean that Amazon drones will be flying down your street;
  • Amazon claims their drone technology has advanced significantly in a short time;
  • Their plan is to self-regulate with procedures that exceed current FAA rules for model aircraft;
  • They plan to use technology to keep their operations safe. The safety software will keep the drone from flying anywhere near an airport;
  • If the FAA does not grant Amazon’s request to be able to conduct testing, they will move their drone R&D operations out of the U.S.

They wrote: “We have been limited to conducting R&D flights indoors or in other countries. Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States by conducting private research and development operations outdoors near Seattle.”


MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of eleven books and over 500 articles related to the craft and business of writing. For more information about her, visit and for more writing news. Follow her on Facebook.and Twitter

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