Amazon’s Drone Delivery Dreams Are Grounded

FAA bans commercial use, but recreational still allowed

Amazon drone delivery

Amazon's Prime Air service would deliver small packages to consumers via drone, hopefully while avoiding power lines. (Image: Amazon)

You’re going to have to wait a bit longer for Amazon’s drone delivery service.

According to the New York Times, the Federal Aviation Administration has released a memo detailing the uses of unmanned aircraft systems and their status as strictly recreational devices. The

The memo outlines how drones can and cannot be used, and declares all commercial use of drones illegal, as has been the law previously.

Recreational of use drones or model aircraft is still allowed, as long as the aircraft is operated by a human and remains in the operator’s line of sight.

So, for example, a photographer can use a drone to take pictures of his friends for fun, but he can’t use it to sell those photos to them. Likewise, someone can use a drone to deliver a package, but a company like Amazon can’t use its drones to deliver packages for a fee. “Any operation not conducted strictly for hobby or recreation purposes could not be operated under the special rule for model aircraft,” said the memo. “Clearly, commercial operations would not be hobby or recreation flights.”

Amazon’s drones debuted last year on 60 Minutes, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showing them off as the future of delivering packages and dubbing them “Prime Air.” But even though Amazon may be delivering packages for “free” thanks to its Amazon Prime service, the FAA’s report further bans any drone use “in furtherance of a business, or incidental to a person’s business.”

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