A secret site in British Columbia is being used by Amazon for extensive testing of delivery drones, The Guardian reported. The company has refused to provide additional information about the location but according to some sources, these are taking place only 2,000 feet away from the border between Canada and the US.
The Reasons for This Decision
Amazon announced several times that it will begin its delivery drone tests in a foreign country, if the US Federal Government continued making no progress in terms of passing unmanned aircraft regulations.
The aim of the Amazon tests is to figure out whether a particular part of the airspace can be used for drone deliveries. This space is located at a height starting from 200 feet and continuing up to 500 feet. A height above 500 feet is considered standard aviation space, which is why Amazon has chosen the particular slice of air space for its tests.
The Beginning of a Delivery-by-Drone System?
Guardian reported that its team has been invited to a previous undisclosed Amazon location in Canada where outdoor drone testing has been taking place.
The Amazon team reportedly consists of software engineers, robotics experts, aeronautics experts and even former NASA employees. The goal of this team is to figure out whether the creation of a delivery-by-drone system is a viable option in the near future.
Canadian government is having a much more lenient attitude towards the testing of unmanned aircraft, which is one of the main reasons why Amazon has allegedly taken its research abroad. This is the first step towards the launch of Amazon’s brand new Prime Air delivery option.
Why is the US Government Taking So Long?
The approval process for the commercial use of drones in the US will have to pass through several phases before it becomes a fact.
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Amazon could operate its unmanned aircraft if the company agreed to follow a set of very strict requirements. There were also regulations concerning the type of drone that Amazon could use. This permission, however, was provided only after the particular drone model had been labeled obsolete by Amazon.
Canadian government, on the other hand, needed only three weeks to give the company its approval. Though the testing is a wonderful first step towards commercial drone use, Amazon will still have to go a long way. Only the future will tell whether Prime Air will become reality and whether drones will get the mass commercial acceptance that the potential of the technology deserves.