Amazon has alerted the Federal Aviation Authority that its plans to move its drone research abroad if the FAA does not relax its stern stance towards drone regulation in the United States.
“Without the ability to test outdoors in the United States soon, we will have no choice but to divert even more of our [drone] research and development resources abroad,” said Amazon’s vice president of global public policy Paul Misener in a letter to the FAA. “I fear the FAA may be questioning the fundamental benefits of keeping [drone] technology innovation in the United States,” said Misener.
Amazon is currently in the process of building its Prime Air program, a drone delivery service, but testing is extremely difficult due to the FAA’s current rules that make the commercial use of drones in the United States — including test flights — illegal.
More regulations coming in 2015 are set to make drone research even more restricted next year, a bad development for Amazon’s delivery-by-drone initiative.
However, the UK has already issued more than 300 licenses for commercial drone use and Amazon has begun testing drones in Cambridge, England for the time being.