In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week, Amazon Vice President of Global Public Policy Paul Misener asked that the company be permitted to begin testing drones near its Seattle R&D center. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Misener wrote. Amazon Prime Air, he said, "is one invention we are incredibly passionate about."
Commercial use of drones is mostly banned--only two are permitted to operate, both in Alaska--but Amazon is asking the FAA to make an exception. They would run tests only in "a confined area over isolated Amazon private property,", away from aviation activity and densely populated areas. "Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States," Mr. Misener wrote.
The drone program was first revealed by CEO Jeff Bezos in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’s 60 Minutes in December 2013. "I know this looks like science fiction," Bezos said at the time. “It’s not.”
Soon after the interview, Amazon posted on its website that the company hoped the program, called Prime Air, would be available as soon as the FAA completes its policies for unmanned aerial vehicles. "We hope the FAA's rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015," the website read.