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Getting an Amazon package delivered from the sky is getting closer to becoming a reality.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it had granted Amazon approval to deliver packages via drone.
Amazon said that the approval is an “important step,” but added that it is still testing and flying the drones. It did not say when it expected drones to begin making deliveries to shoppers.
The online shopping giant has been working on drone delivery for years, but it has been slowed by regulatory hurdles. Back in December 2013, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in a TV interview that drones would be flying to customer’s homes within five years.
Last year, Amazon unveiled self-piloting drones that are fully electric, can carry 5 pounds of goods and are designed to deliver items in 30 minutes by dropping them in a backyard. At the time, an Amazon executive said deliveries to shoppers would be happening “within months,” but more than 14 months have passed since then.
Seattle-based Amazon is the third drone delivery service to win flight approval, the FAA said. Delivery company UPS and a company owned by search giant Google won approval last year.
“This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world,” David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement. “We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”
The FAA’s approval comes as Amazon has seen its business surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced more people to shop from the safety of their own homes — sending the stock and Bezos’ fortune soaring.
Click here to learn more about Prime Air.