Amazon Left Out Of Government Drone Test Program

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Amazon Left Out Of Government Drone Test Program

But it's leaving Amazon out in the cold.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an operating mode at the Department of Transportation, tweeted a congratulation Wednesday to the 10 state, local, and tribal governments who will participate in the program.

The 10 governments selected are: the cities of San Diego and Reno; the Virginia Tech Center for Innovative Technology and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; the transportation departments of Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota; Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Ft. Flirtey and its government partners will now have access to fast-tracked regulatory approvals as they work to expand lifesaving drone delivery operations across America.

Programs around the country will look at night flights, flights over people and beyond a pilot's line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies and the reliability and security of data links between pilots and aircraft. Drones will be operated beyond visual line of sight of operators, and pilots will be alerted to the presence of drones.

Amazon, which has worked with the FAA on policy as it has tested drone technology around the world, said the fate of its applications was unfortunate, but it was focused on developing safe operations for drones. The program is scheduled to last for two and a half years and does not involve any federal funding. He has introduced bipartisan legislation created to advance the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and build on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to safely integrate them into the National Airspace System. Uber has announced plans to fly people on battery powered taxis, though the development and approvals are years away and there's no mention of attempting such operations under the current program.

The unmanned devices will be used for multiple purposes in Memphis, said Scott Brockman, president of Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

Alphabet's Project Wing will deliver packages in Virginia.

Other companies that will be testing ways to deliver goods using small drones include Zipline, best known for delivering blood to hospitals in Africa; Matternet, a company that delivers medical supplies to hospitals in Switzerland; Flirtey will test the delivery of medical equipment, including defibrillators, epipens and opioid overdose antidote medication.

Drones that monitor crops, control mosquito populations and deliver defibrillators are to be tested in United States airspace. Studies have shown that drone response times are 16 minutes faster than ambulances, giving patients higher odds of survival.

The Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota has an unmanned aircraft mission.

Amazon Prime Air, a leader in drone delivery development, wasn't listed as a partner on any of the winning programs. It will focus on border protection, delivery of packaged food, worldwide commerce, smart city/autonomous vehicle interoperability and surveillance.

One major player that was excluded was Amazon. It said it was a partner on four of the winning applications and expects the US Federal Aviation Administration programmes to jump-start growth.

Amazon's rejection is ironic because it was one of the earliest supporters of the pilot program when it was announced in October.

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