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Amazon threatens to take its delivery drone testing overseas

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Amazon things, delivered by drone! The possible future! The project was first teased on 60 Minutes a little over a year ago, and while there's been some movement, it's apparently not progressing fast enough. Now Amazon's taken the Federal Aviation Agency to task, and told the FAA (and the media) exactly why. The aggrieved letter totals seven pages, plus appendices, as it's actually the part of the exemption application for Amazon's drone experiments. "Without approval of our testing in the United States, we will be forced to continue expanding our Prime Air R&D footprint abroad," Amazon's VP of global public policy Paul Misener, wrote in the letter. The company now aims to shift more of its drone testing outside of the US, unless regulators are able to give permission for the company's outdoor trials soon.

Back in July, Amazon asked for permission to fly its drones in outdoors in an area near one of its R&D labs in Seattle. It's still waiting for permission. As Reuters reports, the government offered up six sites last year for organizations looking to test drones in the wild ahead of commercial use. However, Amazon's area isn't one of them, and the company added that it'd be impractical for "it to pursue the test sites as our sole method of testing at this time."

The WSJ notes that while the US has less than 10 approved commercial-drone operators, Europe's total is in the thousands. The FAA said that it has issued around 200 experimental certificates to drone makers since 2005 and that these approvals are more appropriate for test-flights than the exemption Amazon is looking to pick up from the authority.

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