Amazon wants to test drones near Seattle

Online retailing giant Amazon wants permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to test speedy delivery drones outside in the Seattle area.

Amazon wants an exemption from FAA rules that say businesses can test drones only indoors, saying it needs to conduct research flights for its experimental and not-yet-functioning delivery system, Amazon Prime Air, in the outdoors.

The company said in a letter to the FAA it has been experimenting indoors with aerial vehicles that can reach speeds of 50 mph and deliver 5-pound packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

“One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today, resulting in enormous benefits for consumers across the nation,” said Paul Misener, an Amazon vice president, in the letter.

In the letter Amazon says it wants to be subject to the same regulation as hobbyists and manufacturers of model aircraft, groups that are allowed to fly outdoors.

“It is a necessary step towards realizing the consumer benefits of Amazon Prime Air and, at this point, Amazon’s continuing innovation in the United States requires the requested exemption for outdoor testing in support of our R&D,” the company said in the letter.

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