Amazon’s Vision: Drone Superhighway

For faster, safe and efficient delivery drone flights, Amazon has laid out its vision of a drone superhighway, reports said.

The company laid out its vision for a multi-tiered superhighway in the sky, one in which all drones flying above 200 feet would have the ability to communicate with — and ideally sense and avoid — other aircraft.[…]Amazon’s proposal, which is in line with similar ideas floated by NASA and Google, would create a slow lane for local traffic below 200 feet and a fast lane for long-distance transport between 200 and 400 feet. Altitudes between 400 and 500 feet would become a no-fly zone, and anything above that is already against FAA regulations for hobbyists. – Read more at:

“It’s completely doable,” Kimchi ( a vice president who heads the company’s drone-delivery division) told Bloomberg News, laying out for the first time how the company envisions an orderly system guiding small, unmanned delivery aircraft. He is unveiling the company’s view at a conference Tuesday sponsored by NASA at its Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. – Read more:

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Drones like Amazon’s that need to travel long distances and fly in urban areas and close to homes would need to be smarter. They would need the capability to communicate with other drones to avoid collisions and sensors to detect obstacles by themselves, said Kimchi. – Read more here:

The flight system proposed by Amazon would ensure that drones change course or land should there be any emergency, such as allowing an air rescue helicopter to pass through. This flight system could perhaps be adapted for other drone use, not just delivery, such as drones for aerial photography services, or simply flying one’s personal drone for fun.

However, drone hobbyists may need some convincing, according to a report by The Guardian.

The other interested party that may take some convincing are amateur drone hobbyists and modellers. Under current rules in the US, they are allowed to fly their aircraft within line of sight up to 400ft as long as they stay away from airports and other out-of-bounds areas. Under Amazon’s proposals, by contrast, hobbyists would only be allowed to fly within the new 200ft-400ft corridor if their vehicles were equipped with the latest hyper-sophisticated gadgetry for autonomous flight. Otherwise, they would have their activities confined to geographically demarcated airfields in relatively unpopulated areas that would be set aside specifically for the purpose.

 

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