Amazon seeks official permission to use drones

Amazon has officially asked US aviation authorities for permission to use drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air.

It is the latest step in the online retailer's plan to deliver packages with self-guided aircraft that can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to five pounds.

About 86% of Amazon's deliveries weight five pounds or less, the company said. Credit: PA

"We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Amazon said in the letter.

The FAA allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned. Amazon is asking for an exemption so it can test its drones in the US.

The Seattle company says its drone testing will only take place over Amazon's private property, away from airports or areas with aviation activity - and not in densely populated areas or near military bases.