NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) asks Congress Wednesday for fewer restrictions on U.S. drone usage in order to get its Prime Air service off the ground. Amazon Prime Air is designed to deliver packages up to five pounds to customers in 30 minutes or less using small drones.
Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president for global public policy, will appear in front of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to argue against current Federal Aviation Administration rules. According to his prepared testimony, Misener explains that he disagrees with the FAA's current opinion that extending see-and-avoid principles on small drones presents "unique safety concerns," which warrant delayed consideration.
Misener says in his planned remarks, "Overly prescriptive restrictions are likely to have the unintended effect of stifling innovation and, over time, will fail to offer any corresponding safety benefit as sUAS [small unmanned aerial system] technology evolves. By contrast, genuine performance-based regulation would provide a flexible framework for operators to demonstrate that these types of operations can be conducted safely. In sum, the FAA should consistently adopt a performance-based approach throughout its sUAS rules, and thereby not unnecessarily limit the promising benefits of small UAS technology."
Misener plans to urge the FAA to act expeditiously, and ask that Congress provide legislative guidance and if necessary, additional legal authority. He suggests that the FAA work with other parties like NASA to develop a regulatory structure for commercial and other small unmanned aerial system operations at low altitudes. He stresses that federal rules must apply, with states and localities prohibited from regulating drone usage that the FAA has authorized.