Amazon shut out of FAA testing autonomous drone deployment

11 May, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • 10 teams win federal approval to push the limits with drones, but Amazon's left out

Having partnerships with state and local governments means that there's a way to accommodate concerns like local restrictions on times for package delivery.

San Diego is among 10 areas around the US that will take part in a federal program that is testing drone technology and innovation. The U.S. Transportation Department has said that it will announce 10 winning state, local or tribal governments to host the experiments, which in turn have partnered with companies who will play a role in the tests.

The other sites are located in California, Nevada, North Dakota, North Carolina, Kansas, Alaska, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida.

They include Zipline, which now offers a blood-delivery service in Rwanda, and Apple.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program was launched previous year by President Trump after the U.S. fell behind in drone experimentation.

The city will work withFlirtey, one of the few drone companies that has carried out officially sanctioned unmanned drone tests in the U.S., to test delivering medical equipment, such as defibrillators.

Speaking of the USA drones, the EFAD (European Forum on Armed Drones) and other NGOs inked on a joint statement recently encouraging European states to end helping US lethal drone strikes all over the Middle East. In Reno, drones will carry defibrillators to heart attack victims. Myers, Fla.; and the Memphis airport. Among them will be to inspect hard-to-reach infrastructure and to inspect runways to ensure they are clear of debris.

FedEx released the following statement on the program. They will also deliver parts and provide emergency response.

Notable absentees from the approved list of 10 pilots were Amazon, which applied for a project to deliver goods within New York City, and the world's largest non-military drone manufacturer, DJI. The data can be used to help develop future regulations allowing widespread and routine deliveries.

Uber will work with San Diego to create drone landing stations and ports. Another partner is General Electric Co, he said.

Apple is also reportedly working with the state to test using drones for its mapping app, which it's been testing for the last few years.

"By tackling these challenges head-on, I think we're going to get to better paradigms for how drones can operate around people - and make money in the process", Goodwin said.

The US drone program has been created to assess how drones can be regulated and worked into US airspace without borking normal aviation; Amazon offered to help but didn't get the nod, which is kind of ironic given it probably flogs more drones than any other tech firm out there. So far, regulations don't permit flights over people or over long distances, and the agency has been cautious about approving waivers to allow such operations.

Despite Amazon's absence, this is the USA government's boldest move yet related to drones.

Though the satellite images are regularly updated but using a drone is expected to present more real-time information and images. The company says, however, that its stance on privacy will remain the same throughout its use of drones. It began limited drone deliveries in the United Kingdom in 2016.

Drones may soon be able to fly at night, among other benefits. So-called beyond-visible-line-of-sight flights offer some of the greatest potential for commercial operations, but they also are among the most hard technically to ensure they don't strike other aircraft or veer off course.

Earlier, the department confirmed it had sent two planned rules to the White House to regulate the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles.


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