Secret Bezos delivery helicopters operate from mystery Canadian base to evade US regulators
Watch the Skies for the BLACK DRONES, eh
Amazon's relationship with Uncle Sam's Federal Aviation Authority has apparently deteriorated so much that the web-based retailer has fled its jurisdiction for the more liberal regulatory regime of Transport Canada.
Showing off its secret-keeping credentials, the Guardian reports that Amazon has an undisclosed drone-testing location in Canada, hidden "somewhere in British Columbia, only 2,000 feet from the US border, which was clearly visible from where [we] stood on a recent visit".
A previous Amazon request to test-fly delivery drones actually received such a late response from the FAA that the tech was considered obsolete by the time it was actually authorised to fly.
The Sultans of Seattle are obviously unhappy with this state of affairs and have sneaked across the border to test-fly their (probably impractical for anything more than a couple of Mills & Boon paperbacks) delivery drones among the hills of British Columbia.
"Amazon has acquired a plot of open land lined by oak trees and firs, where it is conducting frequent experimental flights with the full blessing of the Canadian government," according to the Guardian, also noting its visit was watched by "three plain-clothed security guards".
The excitable Grauniad exclusive cites Amazon's "drone visionaries" fine-tuning "the essential features of what they hope will become a successful delivery-by-drone system.
The Guardian witnessed tests of "a hybrid drone that can take off and land vertically, as well as fly horizontally", not an entirely unique capability.
Amazon wants to utilise GPS to autonomously fly packages of under five pounds to customers' doorsteps within 30 minutes of ordering online.
However, questions remain regarding Amazon's preparation to deal with the critical technical and regulatory challenges. ®