Amazon shut out of FAA testing autonomous drone deployment

11 May, 2018, 00:13 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Apple wants official permission to test new drone program

FedEx will use drones to inspect aircraft at its Tennessee hub and for some package deliveries between the airport and other Memphis locations.

Alphabet's Project Wing will deliver packages in Virginia.

Back in October President Trump gave the "green light" to U.S. cities and states to work together with tech companies to accelerate and increase the number of drone tests across the United States under a program called "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot".

The 10 governments selected are: the cities of San Diego and Reno; the Virginia Tech Center for Innovative Technology and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; the transportation departments of Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota; Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Ft.

More than one million drones and 90,000 pilots are now registered with the FAA.

The city of Reno, Nev., is partnering with drone delivery company Flirtey - along with FedEx, T-Mobile (TMUS) and others - to test defibrillator delivery via drones. Myers, Fla.; and the Memphis airport.

However, it is with some interest that we take note of the smaller drone innovators that have been selected to partner with government by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FAA.

Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, told the senator: "It is not legal, sir". The data can be used to help develop regulations allowing widespread and routine deliveries sometime in the future. This will free up drones to do everything from deliver food and medicine to inspect critical infrastructure. "I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it's gonna be a lot of fun".

Phone maker Apple was among those chosen and will capture images of North Carolina by drone, while Microsoft, Uber and Intel will all be involved in projects. The company has worked with the FAA on policy before, and has tested its drone technology around the world, including the UK.

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"We have to have a universal acceptance of an ID network and that all the users of the airspace have to follow the same airspace rules", he said.

Drones that monitor crops, control mosquito populations and deliver defibrillators are to be tested in United States airspace. Participants will be able to test practices such as night operations and flights over people.

It's a program that state, local and tribal governments applaud: providing them a voice in airspace regulation.

Some reports have also said that 10 government companies are going to conduct the flight testing.

However, Chao did say that the FAA will work with others among the 149 applicants, CNET reported.

Package delivery is now not possible on a wide-scale commercial basis, because regulations limit drones to flights during daylight and within sight of their operators. Under current regulations, drones must fly within 400 feet of the ground, operate during the day and stay within sight of their operators.

Chao mentioned several specific areas where drones can help: agriculture, commerce, health care, disaster assistance, emergency response and human transportation.

"Apple is committed to protecting people's privacy, including processing this data to blur faces and license plates prior to publication", the company said.


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