One of the world’s largest industries is transportation and shipping, and its sectors range from trucks to airplanes, to courier services, to ships and barges. Although the newest technology in shipping is still controversial and hasn’t yet been embraced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), steps are being made that could mean it’s closer to being a reality than people think.
The leader in drone shipping is Amazon, and they have just gotten one step closer to being able to put into place a drone shipping system. The problem is that the approval came too late.
According to CBS News, the FAA recently decided to allow Amazon to fly its delivery drone on a trial basis; however, Amazon says that the model of drone that was approved is now obsolete. Furthermore, Amazon purports the FAA is hindering innovation in the United States by not prioritizing drone approval.
Shipping is an already remarkably efficient industry — though it’s an essential service to pretty much every other sector of the economy, it only accounts for about 6% of economic activity. Adding drones would only make it more efficient in delivering the millions of packages that are transported daily. FedEx alone delivers 9 million packages a day.
“While I can see increased efficiencies as result of using drones and less congestion on our roads and highways, I think at the present time there are just too many security and privacy concerns to make this a viable delivery method in the near future,” says Chris Franzen, Director of Logistics with Broussard Logistics.
Forbes reports that as a result of the FAA’s delayed approval, Amazon is rather criticizing the Administration for not developing policies regarding the testing and use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) promptly enough.
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, made his sentiments clear to Senate members of the Subcommittee on Aviation, Operations, Safety and Security in a Tuesday meeting.
“Although the United States is catching up in permitting current commercial UAS testing,” Misener explained, “The United States remains behind in planning for future commercial UAS operations.”
The FAA took twice as long to approve drone testing as countries in Europe did, where Amazon is currently testing more advanced drones.