Amazon given permission to test drone deliveries in the US

March 23, 2015 |

When the Mike Bezos first raised the possibility of drones being used by Amazon to deliver goods, Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Is Seriously Serious About Drone Deliveriesthe response was decidely sceptical and a more than a little hostile, see We can do without Jeff Bezos’s delivery drones.   That was 2014.

Late last week the Federal Aviation Authority gave Amazon an experimental airworthiness certificate, stating in its release:

The Federal Aviation Administration today issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics, Inc. unmanned aircraft (UAS) design that the company will use for research and development and crew training. The FAA typically issues experimental certificates to manufacturers and technology developers to operate a UAS that does not have a type certificate.

Under the provisions of the certificate, all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions. The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.

The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The company must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links. The FAA includes these reporting requirements in all UAS experimental airworthiness certificates.

It is a start and likely to be a further area of growth for this technology.  Some states in the United States have started regulating the use of drones.  In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office released a code of practice titled In the picture: A data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information.  The EU Court of Justice in  František Ryneš v Ú?ad pro ochranu osobních údaj? ruled that video surveillance” by individuals that is carried out “even partially” in a public space is subject to the EU’s Data Protection Directive, even if the camera capturing images of people is “directed outwards from the private setting of the person processing the data”.

The Australian regulatory landscape is still quite bare in this area.  Australia is fast on the take up rate of technology and woefully slow in implementing a workable legal framework for the technology to operate within. The Privacy Act might apply for some usages of drones who are collecting data, but perhaps not.  It will usually depend upon the nature of the activity and the turnover of the operator. A fairly confusing situation.

One Response to “Amazon given permission to test drone deliveries in the US”

  1. Amazon given permission to test drone deliveries in the US | Australian Law Blogs

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