The race for primacy in the delivery drones appear to be gaining fresh momentum with new rules being framed both in the US and elsewhere, particularly in the UK.
As at August, the recently revised regulations require that all aerial vehicles remain within sight of those who control them throughout the time, the drones are air born and this has effectively rendered commercial deliveries nearly impossible.
The new set of rules have been awaited for long and the US Fed Aviation Administration released these last month, clearing the way for commercial drones of small size to operate throughout the airspace in the US. Under these rules, drone operators are allowed to operate a commercial craft that weighs less than 25 kg (55 pounds) when daylight is available. But this is subject to the condition that the drone is in clear view all through its flight.
Further, the drones can start only 30 minutes after sunrise and close 30 minutes before sunset. The altitude is to be maintained at 400 feet or less and the speed is restricted to 100mph or less. Effectively, these rules will preclude the kind of robo-delivery service that Amazon and other vendors are currently developing. However, one can expect to see more and more drones in the skies the new rules notwithstanding.
The newest competitor to join the race for delivery drones is UPS (United Parcel Service). UPS started testing drones focused on fetching packages from remote or locations otherwise difficult to access. To demonstrate, the firm also arranged mock delivery ex. Beverly to Massachusetts with urgent medical needs for Children’s Island. This was also the first time a major firm in the delivery business employed a drone to execute the task.
Drone makers meantime do not see drones as a replacement for bikes, delivery trucks, gondolas or buggies in the near future. Drones are in focus to service locations that are inaccessible or to meet an emergency where traditional infrastructure has broken down and a package needs to be delivered quickly.
However, the law makers do not seem to be in any hurry to make things easy for drones to become full-fledged business as yet.
According to industry estimates cited by the White House, it is suggested that drones could add some $82 billion to the US economy, across the next decade and create as many as 100,000 jobs. Wal-mart also stated that it is about 9 months away to commence using drones in their business.