Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

Uber demonstrated the transport of a McDonald’s meal via its Uber Elevate A4200 drone with custom-designed delivery box. The drone was set to fly only half a mile away, but the trip was canceled due to a 26-knot breeze. The demo is still noteworthy as a practical application of the technology. Uber isn’t the only company pinning some of its high-tech hopes on drone delivery. Google already has the greenlight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make similar unmanned commercial deliveries in Virginia, and Amazon also debuted its drone delivery service. Continue reading Uber Demonstrates Its Drone Delivery Service in San Diego

FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

Wing Aviation, a unit of Alphabet, received the Federal Aviation Administration’s first authorization to deliver consumer goods via drone. Being first is a coup for Google’s parent company and a harbinger that many other companies — Amazon among them — will soon launch drone delivery services. Not long ago, officials predicted that the FAA wouldn’t implement the first rules for unmanned aircraft delivery until 2020 or 2021. The current FAA permit for Wing Aviation only includes a rural area around Blacksburg, Virginia. Continue reading FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

Zipline, the California-based startup that uses drones to deliver blood and drugs to remote Rwandan medical centers, is now using a fixed-wing aerial robot to make commercial deliveries at nearly 80 miles per hour. The company claims its fixed-wing UAV is the world’s fastest commercial delivery drone. In Rwanda, Zipline has already flown 300,000 kilometers in over 4,000 flights since its October 2016 debut, and introduced a similar service in Tanzania. This expertise will enable it to compete with the big players in drone delivery including Amazon’s Prime Air and Alphabet’s Project Wing. Continue reading Zipline’s Fixed Wing UAV Becomes Fastest Commercial Drone

FAA: Number of Commercial Drones Will Quadruple by 2022

In positive news for the drone industry, recently updated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) numbers project significant growth in commercial drone use by 2022, at which point the current numbers are expected to quadruple. By that year, 450,000 unmanned drones will operate within domestic airspace. Today, there are roughly 110,000 in use. These increases are projected even if federal restrictions are loosened more slowly than expected or desired by advocates and others.

Continue reading FAA: Number of Commercial Drones Will Quadruple by 2022

FAA Panel Fails to Reach Consensus on Drone Regulations

A federal advisory panel of 70+ industry, labor and law enforcement experts failed to come to agreement on a proposal on how to track and identify drones. More specifically, the panel could not find agreement regarding categories of drones that should require remote monitoring. The result is that it will now be more difficult for the Federal Aviation Administration to execute rules that would please all concerned groups, which include law enforcement agencies, hobbyists and drone advocates. Continue reading FAA Panel Fails to Reach Consensus on Drone Regulations

Gartner Forecasts Timeline for Adoption of New Technologies

Gartner Research reported on emerging workflows for new technologies. In the Gartner Emerging Tech Hype Cycle, the company studied 2,000 emerging technologies and identified 32 that could create competitive advantages over the next ten years. Gartner tracked these technologies’ progress and assessed their chances for entering the mainstream market. Among the technologies it identified are augmented reality, virtual reality and some forms of artificial intelligence, followed by blockchain. Continue reading Gartner Forecasts Timeline for Adoption of New Technologies

Amazon Files Patent for Safer Drone Delivery in Urban Areas

Amazon’s drone delivery program faces the challenge of getting drones near enough to large population centers, but the company just filed a patent application for a solution. What Amazon calls “multi-level fulfillment centers for unmanned aerial vehicles” would place drones in the midst of cities in vertical structures, thereby letting drones fly in and out of the building while avoiding pedestrians. Although this idea would solve one problem, it raises others pursuant to drones flying in the sky above a city. Continue reading Amazon Files Patent for Safer Drone Delivery in Urban Areas

Amazon Makes its First Commercial Drone Delivery in the UK

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos reports that, on Dec. 7, the company made its first commercial drone delivery — of an Amazon Fire streaming device and popcorn — to an Amazon shopper in Cambridgeshire, England. The drone took off from a nearby Amazon warehouse and flew two miles in approximately 13 minutes. Amazon will now test drone deliveries in that country with two more customers near Cambridge, where it has a drone testing facility. The company hopes to expand the trial to up to dozens of people in the next months. Continue reading Amazon Makes its First Commercial Drone Delivery in the UK

Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

Drone operators are beginning to realize the commercial potential of UAVs. In Southern California, for example, drones are being used for film production, sports coverage, wedding photography, map-making and more. According to Los Angeles Daily News, drone operators are also making money with applications such as: “examining the health of agricultural crops,” “monitoring the progress of construction projects,” “documenting the installation of rooftop solar panels in order to claim federal tax credits,” “selling commercial, industrial and residential real estate” and “surveying electric wires, pipelines, railroad tracks, dams and canals for damage.” Meanwhile, companies including Amazon and Google are experimenting with drone delivery services. Continue reading Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

FAA Issues Drone Operation Rules, Privacy Issues Unresolved

The operation of drones has sparked heated debate and industry angst regarding issues of safety, privacy and regulation. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its first detailed rules that clarify nationwide licensing requirements for pilots and bans operation of drones at nighttime. But it still hasn’t touched the hot button topics of privacy protections, high altitude flying, drones heavier than the currently-approved 55-pounds and other issues. In that vacuum, local governments are coming up with their own regulations. Continue reading FAA Issues Drone Operation Rules, Privacy Issues Unresolved

Governor Brown Vetoes Legislation Restricting Use of Drones

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed California Senate Bill 142, proposed legislation that would require drone users to obtain permission to fly their unmanned aerial systems less than 350 feet over private property. “Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination,” wrote Brown. “This bill, however, while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action.” Tech groups opposed the bill and the CEA applauded the Governor’s decision. Continue reading Governor Brown Vetoes Legislation Restricting Use of Drones

California Legislation Could Have Impact on Drone Deliveries

As numerous startups introduce drones for recreational and commercial use, and tech giants including Amazon and Google plan delivery projects based on UAVs, concerns have emerged regarding various safety, privacy and security issues. Now policy groups tied to tech firms are working to block new legislation in California that could impact the deployment and use of drones. Senate Bill 142, which passed the California Assembly on Monday, restricts operation of UAVs under 350 feet above properties without permission of the property owners. Continue reading California Legislation Could Have Impact on Drone Deliveries

Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

In 2016, Aerosense, jointly owned by Sony and robotics firm ZMP, plans to launch a commercial drone service targeting construction, logistics and agriculture industries. A prototype of an airplane-shaped drone was unveiled this week. The drones, which will be capable of capturing HD images and transmitting them to the cloud, will rely in part on the mobile phone and digital camera technologies developed for Sony’s Xperia smartphones. Analysts believe the unmanned aircraft industry may be worth $82 billion in the U.S. by 2025. Continue reading Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

Amazon Proposes Zones for Drones, Ensuring Safe Air Travel

At a conference hosted by NASA, Amazon described a plan that would split U.S. airspace into specific heights for various types of unmanned aerial vehicles. A high-speed transit zone, from 200 to 400 feet above the ground, would be reserved for the kind of delivery drones being developed by Amazon and others. Consumer and industrial drones would be restricted to below 200 feet, and aircraft would fly above 500 feet, with a 100-foot no-fly zone. All drones would be banned from in and around airports. Continue reading Amazon Proposes Zones for Drones, Ensuring Safe Air Travel

Over 500 FAA Exemptions in 2015 Open U.S. Skies to Drones

In 2015, the FAA granted over 500 exemptions to farmers, railroads, security services and medical facilities that wanted to fly drones. Although FAA rules require all drones to have a human pilot and stay within the operator’s sight, it now plans to make exception to those rules. More drones are likely to fly as competitors come out with more, sometimes less expensive choices. The move also helps the U.S. catch up with drone use in Europe and Canada. Switzerland, for example, began trials of drone-delivered mail. Continue reading Over 500 FAA Exemptions in 2015 Open U.S. Skies to Drones

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