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  /  World News   /  Amazon gets FAA approval to fly drones out of line of sight

Amazon gets FAA approval to fly drones out of line of sight

(NewsNation) — Amazon announced federal regulators approved its delivery drones to fly longer distances without the need for ground spotters, which will allow the company to expand its delivery program.

In a blog post published on its website Thursday, the e-commerce giant said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved its Prime Air delivery service to operate drones “beyond visual line of sight,” removing a barrier that has prevented its drones from traveling longer distances.

The company said it received FAA approval after developing a strategy that ensures its drones can “detect and avoid obstacles in the air.” It also submitted other engineering information to the FAA and conducted flight demonstrations in front of federal inspectors. Those demonstrations were also done “in the presence of real planes, helicopters, and a hot air balloon to demonstrate how the drone safely navigated away from each of them.”

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Amazon said the approval also “lays the foundation” to scale its operations to more locations around the country. The company said it plans to scale its operations in the College Station, Texas area, where the company launched drone deliveries in 2022.

Last month, Amazon said it would close a drone delivery site in Lockeford, California — one of only two in the nation — and open another one later this year in Tolleson, Arizona, a city located west of Phoenix.

By the end of the decade, Amazon said it has a goal of delivering 500 million packages by drone every year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.