The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Amazon’s Prime Air drone program permission to conduct flights “beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS), allowing the company to scale its drone delivery operation.

To obtain the BVLOS approval, Amazon said it conducted several flight demonstrations showing how its drone used onboard detect-and-avoid technology to navigate away from obstacles such as aircraft, helicopters, and a hot air balloon. These flights were conducted under the supervision of FAA inspectors to validate the system’s functionality.

With FAA clearance secured, Amazon is set to begin drone deliveries later this year in College Station, Texas, where the company began its drone deliveries in 2022. According to Amazon, this regulatory approval paves the way for it to reach customers in densely populated areas, laying the foundation for scaling operations across the United States.

Amazon noted its goal is to deliver 500 million packages annually by drone by the end of the decade.

“It’s taken years of inventing, testing, and improving to develop these breakthrough technologies, and now, on the heels of regulatory approval and cutting-edge technology, we’re excited to launch this next chapter for Prime Air,” the company noted in a May 30 blog post.

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