Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones can fly even farther after FAA approval

Amazon is getting FAA approval to fly its Prime Air drones farther than ever before. The agency has granted Amazon permission to operate package delivery drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), which is farther than a human can see. It’s a milestone that could be a huge boon to the company’s long-running ambition to deliver products to customers in 30 minutes.

With the regulatory hurdle out of the way, Amazon is set to “immediately” scale its operations in College Station, Texas, so it can fly more drones and make deliveries in more densely populated areas that are farther out. The location’s expansion will make use of the company’s current MK27 drone, which can carry packages up to five pounds and is outfitted with onboard detect-and-avoid capabilities that the FAA has now blessed. Amazon is also working on a new lighter MK30 drone that can fly faster and through rain.

Amazon’s new FAA approval comes after it shut down its testing operations site in Lockeford, California, after a long approval process to get customer deliveries running. Amazon is now in the process of opening a new Prime Air location in Tolleson, Arizona. Amazon was granted BVLOS after other drone delivery operators had already received clearance, including UPS, Wing, FedEx, and Zipline.


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