US retail drone deliveries hit major setback
Retail drone deliveries are facing a major setback in the US as key legislation enabling companies to deliver parcels is opposed by powerful groups.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed new rules which would force all drones to be able to be identified remotely from the ground.
These proposals would enable companies like Amazon, Google, Walgreens, Walmart and UPS, all of which are working on drone delivery roll outs, to fly alongside amateur drone fliers and hobbyists.
Although current technology is more than capable of conducting drone deliveries, the lack of regulatory approval has prevented any company from rolling them out commercially.
However major groups including the world’s biggest recreational drone maker DJI and Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and The Experimental Aircraft Association have announced strong opposition to the proposals, potentially further drawing out the deadlock on drone regulation.
“This plan is far too restrictive, it does not make sense for anyone in the airspace.” AMA’s head of government affairs Tyler Dobbs told the Financial Times.
Under current laws drone operators cannot fly out of their line of site, however to enable drone deliveries this is a necessity.
In order to overcome this, a feat the FAA has found particularly difficult to date, all drones would be required to broadcast a radio signal and have an internet connection in order for them to be identifiable from the ground.
Any drones without an internet connection would be restricted to flying small drones less than 400ft.
The influential coalition of opposing groups argue that this would significantly affect the publics ability to fly drones as many manufacturers do not currently have such capabilities and adding internet capabilities is both difficult and expensive.