Amazon’s announcement that it was experimenting with delivery drones to get packages to customers quickly generated a lot of excitement. Fast package delivery is obviously something people want but, unfortunately, is something people can’t have. Why? For the same reason we can’t enjoy most technological advancements: the state. As it turns out Amazon couldn’t even test its drones in the United States because of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restrictions:
When Jeffrey P. Bezos revealed to CBS’s Charlie Rose that Amazon.com was planning for a fleet of whirring octocopters to deliver everyone’s next iPhone case, the video that went along with it showed a prototype drone rising lazily off the ground and floating across green, open fields to reach its destination. It could’ve been anywhere — sunny California, maybe, or somewhere near Seattle. But it was actually neither of those places. Turns out it wasn’t even in the United States.
Spokespeople for Amazon and the Federal Aviation Administration have confirmed that the company chose an international location for its concept video after FAA restrictions prevented them from shooting here. Exactly which lucky country got a cameo is still a mystery; neither official would talk specifics.
This kind of problem occurs more often than you might think. The United States is technologically behind in many areas including manufacturing, medical technology, and automotive technology. We linger behind other countries because many of the technologies are either illegal here or the costs of getting them approved to sell here are too high. But don’t despair, all hope is not lost. I’m sure if Amazon hands enough bundles of cash over to the right politicians and bureaucrats the FAA will be convinced to reconsider the current regulations. This is America, if you want to play you have to pay.