Gur Kimchi, the vice president of Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery operation, has been named along with a variety of other tech executives to a Drone Advisory Committee that “will help the FAA prioritize its activities, including the development of future regulations and policies” for unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace.
The appointments promise to give Amazon and other tech companies more of a voice as the Federal Aviation Administration makes policy decisions that will impact their ability to roll out new drone initiatives. The FAA’s final commercial drone rules, issued in June, imposed a series of limits that will make Amazon’s drone package delivery ambitions difficult to achieve in the U.S. unless the company can receive specific waivers.
Brian Kraznich, the Intel CEO, will chair the new Drone Advisory Committee. Other members represent a who’s who of companies with a stake in the emerging drone industry, including Martin Gomez-Vesclir, director of aeronautical platforms at Facebook; Dave Vos of Project Wing at Google X; Ryan Hartman, CEO of Boeing subsidiary Insitu; Houston Mills, director of airline safety at UPS, and many more.
In a post about Kimchi’s appointment to the advisory committee, Amazon notes that it has also been “highly involved” in the Unmanned Traffic Management project run by NASA and the FAA, and other efforts.
“Amazon has previously worked with the FAA to help define safe and effective drone operating guidelines and regulations,” the company says in the post. “In late 2015, Amazon representatives participated in the FAA’s drone registration task force, which helped the FAA implement guidelines for the registration of all drones flown outdoors and weighing more than 250g.”
The Drone Advisory Committee is slated to hold its first meeting Sept. 16 in Washington, D.C.