Google (now officially called Alphabet) is aiming to launch a commercial drone delivery service in 2017. Reuters reports that David Vos, who head’s Google’s Project Wing and co-chairs a drone registry task force for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), announced Google’s plans at an air traffic control convention in Washington last week. He said the FAA is discussing setting up an air traffic control system that would use cellular and internet technology to manage unmanned aerial vehicles (a.ka. drones) flying at altitudes lower than 500 feet. Amazon proposed a similar plan in July.
The FAA is expected to publish final rules for commercial drone operations early next year. The highly anticipated rules will describe the regulations that will help ensure that delivery drones will operate safely. Until the rules are confirmed, it is unclear who would be approved for drone delivery, how far drones will be allowed to fly, or even whether drones will even be allowed to fly beyond an operator’s line of sight. In the meantime, Google, Amazon, and several retail companies have been busy perfecting the technology.
Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017.