Many large companies like UPS, Amazon and perhaps less well-known Alphabet (Google’s parent company) hope to deliver many of their goods by drone. With new adjustment to government regulation that dream is coming closer to reality.
The Federal Aviation Administration completed a new set rules governing small, remote drones. These new regulations could make way for increased commercial uses of drones. This includes delivery.
Some of these changes included allowing small, commercial drones to fly short distances over people and at night with out a special waiver. These same classifications of drones will also be permitted to fly over moving vehicles under some limited conditions.
Another change is that drone operators must have their remote pilot certificates on their person for display in the case they were challenged by authorities. The rules apply to drone operators who use their drones for work or business under FAA Part 107 regulation.
The FAA says some 1.7 million drones and 203,000 drone pilots have been registered under their department.
Near Charlotte, NC drones—large ones with 11-foot wingspan—fly over neighborhoods, an interstate highway and a reservoir as fast as 63 mph arriving at Huntersville Medical Center.
When the drone arrives its compartment door opens and a parachute equipped package drops gently to the pavement below. This happens about 10 times a day. And after dropping its package the drone returns to the hospital distribution center.
Novant Health operates 15 hospitals in the area. This includes Huntersville Medical Center. Novant has any number of delivery choices but decided to test drones as they believe it will prove useful in future heath crises.
As delivering medical supplies will be more challenging following natural disasters or political unrest the drones may offer solutions for delivering supplies to places conventional vehicles cannot reach.
The FAA gave Novant Health a temporary waiver so they and Zipline, the startup operating the drones, could fly drones over people and beyond the visual range of the person responsible for the drone. Zipline’s drones are autonomous but are monitored by a human being.
U.S. business have been slow adopters of drone delivery as needed regulation has yet to be set. The U.S. has more crowded and complex air space than places where drone delivery is legal.
Zipline has been around 2016 and began their journey in Ghana. As of now they say they have delivered more than 110,000 medical items.
Do you remember the cartoon show called “The Jetsons”? The people rode in a car in the air. Now there are some more personal drones almost ready for us to take flight. There will still need to be a lot of rules and regulations put in place before that can become a reality…
The company eHang in China has developed a personal drone. Watch as the CEO takes flight brought by Digital Trends:
The Victor crew loves drones! We found a cool little one. This drone is sleek little drone. The parts are modular and simply snap together, so if something breaks you can just replace that part. Another thing that makes this drone unique is you can print your own frame for it if you have a 3D printer!
The range is only up to 300 feet. It will live-stream video to your phone. It comes with expansion packs to change the rotors. Fly it upside down if you want. Control it via iOS, Android, or radio. Use the photo-editing suite and stream to social media.
You can preorder this drone on indiegogo for $175 plus shipping.
Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos recently revealed in a 60 minutes interview, it’s plan to try to deliver packages to those who live near fulfillment centers with drones. He called them “Octocopters” because of their having 8 legs. As of now, it still needs to pass FAA approvals. Amazon is calling this service “Prime Air” and hopes to have it available in 4-5 years.
Groupon has a tongue-in-cheek answer to the Amazon drone.
~ Jody Victor