Amazon wants to create an airspace entirely for high-speed commercial drone delivery.
Vice President of Amazon Prime Air, Guy Kimchi, discussed the creation of an airspace away from planes and other current airspace traffic, dedicated entirely to drones. Kimchi discussed the plans at NASA’s convention in California.
Amazon Prime Air is not currently legal under the FAA’s laws for drones, but several regulators intend to easy up on commercial drones in the near future. Amazon has continued work on Prime Air despite the FAA decision, hinting at a rehash of the laws soon.
The chunk of airspace will be below 500 feet, with Kimchi carving out a space between 200 and 400 feet for the drones. He claimed having a 100 feet gap between drones and other aircraft should allow high speed commercial drone delivery to take off in the US.
Having this airspace would avoid crashes with the environment and housing. Amazon has been testing Prime Air drones to be smart on the road, avoiding buildings and landing in appropriate spots for the customer.
Kimchi said the FAA’s ruling to only have drones fly in sight as a major issue (opens in new tab). The current ruling means Amazon has to always have eyes on the drone, not a feasible thing when thousands may be in the air at any one time.
Amazon essentially wants to create a courier network in the air, removing the need for trucks and delivery men. This could save Amazon millions in the long term, as it turns to its own solutions for cheaper delivery.
Controlling even more of the service might scare off a few retailers, but if these drones lower the amount retailers need to shell out for delivery in the first place it might not be a controversial topic.
Amazon is not focused on just Prime Air in the US, with plans to launch the service in Europe and Asia in the future. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, also has plans to adopt a drone delivery service in the near future, along with Uber for business delivery and Google for all sorts of packages (opens in new tab).