Even the FAA itself knows it needs to speed up its notoriously slow drone approval process. That's why it has debuted a new rule that will quickly grant permits to companies that promise to adhere to certain restrictions. All applicants whose drones weigh 55 pounds or less will get a "blanket flying permission," so long as they swear never to fly their machines above 200 feet. They also have to assure the agency that they will only fly their drones during daytime and nowhere near airports. The FAA might finally be able to demolish its backlog of more than 400 permit applications with this new system in place. More importantly, it will allow the agency to breeze through future ones and prevent terrible delays like what happened to Amazon.
If you recall, Amazon finally got permission to conduct flight tests stateside a few days ago. Unfortunately, the kind of permit the company got only allows it to test a particular model: the e-commerce giant has to apply for additional permits for other types of drones. The bad news is that the drone the FAA approved is so old, it's not even being tested anymore. Paul Misener, an Amazon vice president, has revealed that the FAA-approved model is already obsolete, and his company has since moved on to more advanced ones that it's already testing overseas. Amazon has already submitted another application, though, and it's hoping to get a permit a lot faster this time around.