Amazon is persuading lawmakers to permit new uses of drones to speed up its deliveries.
Ever since Jeff Bezos started Amazon to deliver books, he had to struggle with how to sell its products as cheaply and as quickly as possible. Today, the American e-commerce company is still obsessed with this matter, developing its own drone fleet, signing up drivers to provide on-demand deliveries and purchasing trailers for trucks.
Now the push by the online trading company to turn into a delivery and logistics powerhouse is more obvious. The Seattle based organization has grown into the most outspoken players of the technology industry in Washington, paying millions of dollars on this effort and having meetings on a regular basis with regulatory bodies and legislators.
The company has lobbied officials to allow the use of commercial UAVs for new purposes – to expand the maximum level of distance covered by trucks, enhance bridges and roads and support its delivery ally, United States Postal Service.
Most of its new efforts are in the initial stages but the company already has detractors, especially for its efforts to fly UAVs. Some drone manufacturers claim that the organization is pushing too fast, too rapidly. Pilot and airline groups said that opening up the skies to commercial drones, which are remote-controlled flying machines, could create security risks.
The money paid by Amazon to lobby last year increased by almost double to a sum of $9.4 million, compared with two years ago, which helped it to reimburse a bigger number of lobbyists and for setting up a new office to accommodate them. The record, compiled from the public records of the Center for Responsive Politics, just includes the expenditure that the company should legally disclose.
The organization’s figure is yet behind those of many companies that have been lobbying from a long period, such as Boeing, which paid around $21 million in the last year. It is behind the leading technology lobbyist, Alphabet, by a huge amount.
Spending by Amazon rose more rapidly than that of any other huge technology company. When the global head of policy at Amazon, Paul Misener, took charge in Washington in 2001, he had a workforce focusing on retail tax regulations and other tech-related matters.
Now, the organization has over 60 people registered as its lobbyists, including both workers and contractors – two times greater than the number of lobbyists working two years ago, as revealed from data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The lobbyists include people as important as the former majority leader in the Senate, Trent Lott, who helps lobby Congress members.