Gear | June 21, 2016 9:00 am

Looks Like Amazon Won’t Be Airdropping Deliveries After All

The FAA and DoT set up new rules for commercial drones

If you thought the future would be cooler, namely that your AmazonPrime-purchased toilet paper would be airdropped into your loo by a flying robot, we have bad news.

Conversely, if you find the promise of drone deliveries to be a building block in the formation of a nascent police state, we have good news.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation just released a new set of rules and restrictions for drones, and the the fact that they can’t fly above unprotected people will be a tough hurdle for retailers like Amazon and Walmart to clear.

Technically termed the Unmanned Aircraft Rule (part 107), the rules outline what qualifies for commercial use, and will go into effect this August.

Here are some of the broad strokes (you can see the full list here):

  • Includes all unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds
  • Must remain in the pilot’s visual line of sight (VLOS)
  • Maximum speed of 100mph
  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet
  • Pilots must pass an aeronautics test and undergo a TSA background check
  • They must be flown during the day
  • No person can act as a pilot from a moving vehicle unless the operation is over a sparsely populated area

Businesses can apply for waivers through a portal on the FAA’s website, but don’t hold your breath on approval.