Commercial Drones Take Off With New Authorizations From The FAA
What’s that annoying buzzing noise? The sound of commercial drones taking off. At the commercial UAV expo yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave authorization to several UAV operators like uAvionix and UPS Flight Forward to operate beyond the field of vision.
- In recent years, the FAA granted licenses on a case-by-case basis to specific use cases — which is seen as a major challenge to adoption.
- They’ve been trying to address some of their largest concerns, including collisions and drone identification.
But starting Sep. 16, a new rule will mandate that all recreational and commercial drones must have remote IDs implemented.
Why aren’t commercial UAVs taking off? Per Reese Mozer via CNBC, drone delivery is a highly “complicated problem” that requires avoiding people, structures and other aerial traffic — which is especially more difficult in the “busiest and most complex airspace in the world [US].”
Drones are taking off in certain industries…
… Like industrial use cases (i.e., inspections) or in farming, where usage has exploded alongside a shortage in labor. But the holy grail for UAVs is still the delivery market, where UPS alone ships 24.3M packages a day.
- In recent years, companies like Amazon, UPS and Alphabet’s drone business have received authorization for small-scale commercial drone delivery.
- But operations are still limited to short ranges and, in most cases, must fly within the human operator’s sight unless given exemption.
Amazon Air, which had set high targets for 10K deliveries this year, has only completed 100 as of May — having faced internal issues and trouble clearing FAA regulations. Alphabet’s Wing has made over 330K deliveries and Walmart had been given approval to expand their drone delivery operations to within six miles of select stores.
Forward-looking: With the FAA expanding approvals and the cost of paying drivers rising, there’s no doubt the American population will begin to see more UAVs take off. And instead of the sound of the truck pulling up, you’ll know your delivery has come when you hear that annoying buzzing noise.