CNBC reports that Amazon's Prime Air drone program continues to be stalled by a variety of factors, including test clearances from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that didn't come until last December, and the requirement that "Prime Air must complete several hundred hours of flying without any incidents and then submit that data to the FAA."
This all "stands in the way of Prime Air’s expansion and its efforts to achieve Amazon’s wildly ambitious goal of whisking food, medicine and household products to shoppers’ doorsteps in 30 minutes or less."
"Bezos predicted a decade ago that a fleet of Amazon drones would take to the skies in about five years. But as of now, drone delivery is restricted to two test markets — College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California, a town of about 3,500 people located south of Sacramento.
"Even in those hand-picked areas, operations have been hamstrung by FAA restrictions that prohibit the service from flying over people or roads, according to government records. That comes after years of challenges with crashes, missed deadlines and high turnover.
"So, while Prime Air has signed up about 1,400 customers for the service between the two sites, it can only deliver to a handful of homes, three former employees said. In all, CNBC spoke to seven current and former Prime Air employees who said continued friction between Amazon and the FAA has slowed progress in getting drone delivery off the ground. They asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter.
"Amazon told CNBC that thousands of residents have expressed interest in its drone-delivery service. The company said it’s making deliveries to a limited number of customers, with plans to expand over time."
- KC's View:
This is another area in which Walmart seems to be delivering while Amazon only is making promises.
The idea that thousands of people have expressed interest in having drone deliveries really isn't such a big deal. I've expressed interest, but that doesn't mean that I'll be putting a landing pad on my front lawn anytime soon.
The real question at this moment is whether Amazon, at this point in time, is really committed to the drone delivery program, or whether it is one of the concepts that will be back-burnered until further notice.