The online marketplace company is seeking the FCC’s approval to test technology in Seattle and rural Washington.
An Amazon wireless experiment is in the works to test out mobile devices and fixed-base stations in Seattle and rural areas of Washington state. Amazon revealed this much of its mysterious plans in recent government filings to the Federal Communications Commission.
The filings do not specifically describe what will be involved in Amazon’s technology tests.
However, what is known about this Amazon wireless experiment is that it looks like it is testing a new type of technology or wireless service. The filing states that the project will involve the use of prototypes created to be capable of supporting “innovative communications capabilities and functionalities.”
Interestingly, the filing also identified Neil Woodward as the primary contact for the project. Retired astronaut Woodward has been a member of Amazon’s teams since he came aboard in 2008. His current position is the Prime Air senior manager. Prime Air is the company’s drone delivery project.
Woodward’s presence indicates that the Amazon wireless experiment may have to do with controlling delivery drones.
At the same time, other points made in the filings may also suggest a wireless service that could function with Amazon’s mobile devices. These may include the interactive Echo speakers or potentially the Kindle tablets and/or readers.
The initial tests will occur indoors at the company’s Seattle headquarters. However, as the project progresses, they will move to the exterior. Outdoor tests will be held 220 miles from Seattle at the Kennewick Amazon customer service facility. The filing stated that its tech tests would require the use of “low-power, temporary fixed-base transmitters and associated mobile units indoors at and near its company facilities in Seattle, Washington.”
The locations involved in this Amazon wireless experiment will each have three fixed transmitters as well as ten mobile units, said the filing. The tests will exclusively involve Amazon employees and the company specified that all devices not meeting FCC regulations would be retrieved and recovered. “The temporary base stations will typically transmit on average for only five minutes per hour per day per week on any specific channel or band,” said the filing documents.