March 31, 2015

Amazon testing drones in Canada

Brian LilleyArchive

E-commerce and tech giant Amazon has moved just north of the Canada-US border to test drone technology.

The Guardian, which visited Amazon's secret site in Canada, reports that the move comes after the company felt like regulators in Washington were dragging their feet over the use of the technology by private firms. The answer, head across the border.

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. As if to underline the significance of the move, the test site is barely 2,000ft from the US border, which was clearly visible from where the Guardian stood on a recent visit.

The plan is to test the feasibility of using drones to deliver small packages, most of Amazon's deliveries weigh less than 5 lbs.

At the test site drones are being tested in what is described as the sweet spot for small craft aviation, above 200 ft where most buildings end and below 500 ft where general aviation begins.

Drone technology is seen by many tech companies and aeronautics experts as the next frontier for innovation, with billions of dollars potentially in the balance. Traditionally, the US has been at the vanguard of both tech and aviation innovation, but the approach of the the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), a US regulatory body, has been markedly tentative so far compared with that of regulators in Canada and Europe.

The FAA process is viewed as time consuming and cumbersome compared to the Canadian approval which took just three weeks from start to finish.


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commented 2015-03-31 15:27:57 -0400
By the time Amazon succeeds in replacing Canada Post with drones, will people still be buying those things called “books.”
commented 2015-03-31 14:00:12 -0400
Terry Rudden;
Two words. Twelve gauge.
And three more words. Double ought buck.
Equals five words. Not in my back yard!
commented 2015-03-31 12:30:39 -0400
A good comparison of technology and growth is the country of Israel…they are surrounded by a huge land mass and large population of Arabs (many not so friendly) …Israel stressed science and technology in many fields and has become a leading country in that region. Canadians are living beside a large population of friendly people, and for us to make our contribution in advancement, we too have to be on the cutting edge of science and innovation.
commented 2015-03-31 09:20:42 -0400
One word. Skynet.
commented 2015-03-31 08:51:40 -0400
Big gubbamint will be sure to slow this technology down by disallowing licenses. Much like uber and airbnb, the gubbamint will act as a blocker to protect legacy systems. Funny how Amazon is testing in Canada – Barry in the White House wants Amazon blocked to protected the unions (mail delivery and unionized courier like UPS) that paid for Barry to get elected. Fuck you back Barry for blocking Keystone’s completion (Keystone has been operating since 2011 – it’s just the last leg that adds about $1.50 to the cost of a barrel that Barry is blocking).
commented 2015-03-31 08:45:45 -0400
This technology is years away from actual deployment. The questions of navigation, actual delivery to a front door, security and the limited range of electric powered drones have yet to be answered. In the mean time, a new sport for inner-urban youth is in the making; “Shoot down the drone with a sling shot!”
commented 2015-03-31 07:48:15 -0400
I’m lovin’ it … bring on the drones…