FAA approval brings drones closer to reality

Regulators have given the green light to a handful of researchers to begin testing the aircraft.

By Benzinga Dec 31, 2013 3:10PM

A Predator B unmanned aircraft lands after a mission at the Naval Air Station Nov. 8, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas (© Eric Gay/AP Photo)
By Jayson Derrick


Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com (AMZN), revealed one of the company's most secret projects during a segment on CBS' "60 Minutes": un-manned drones used as delivery tools.


Many analysts and pundits immediately doubted the feasibility of Amazon utilizing a fleet of drones to deliver packages to customers. The biggest hurdle was the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not permit private drones flying in the vast majority of U.S. airspace.


All of this is set to change.


According to The Wall Street Journal, aviation officials on Dec. 30 selected a handful of universities and state agencies to operate sites for drone testing.


The participants chosen include Texas A&M University, the commerce department of North Dakota, the state of Nevada, a public airport 250 miles north of New York City, the University of Alaska and a partnership between Virginia Tech and Rutgers University.


The first site is expected to begin operating within six months.


Research will be conducted to determine firstly if unmanned aircraft is safe. Tests will be conducted across various geographical areas, climates and types of airspace. The end goal is an eventual integration of commercial unmanned aircraft within the U.S. aviation system.


The FAA intends to pursue a "staged integration of unmanned aircraft," according to Michael Huerta, head of the FAA. The agency will "see where the research takes us."


Amazon customers hoping to place an order and wait for a drone to land in their front yard will have to wait a few years.


Commercial drones are unlikely to be approved until 2020 or later. Full scale routine flights by tens of thousands of government and commercial drones aren't expected until at least 2025.


Read more from Benzinga

2Comments
Jan 1, 2014 9:51PM
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This is truly bad news for those that believe in the Constitution.  George Orwell was wrong, it took us 30 more years than he thought to have big brother watch our every move.  The liberals already are trying to control what is free speech.   I guess the next question will be which amendments in the bill or rights will fall first...  the First?  the Second?  Socialism cannot exist with freedom, because the people will refuse to work for someone else's benefit.  This is just one more step to liberty being lost.
Jan 1, 2014 12:57PM
avatar

O Boy, this is gonna be fun! I went to Rutgers and my daughter went to Va Tech. Maybe we can catch a story on the testing.


Maybe when Amazon or Dominos delivers something I could catch my own drone. I bet they don't want people to do that, but I bet people will do it.


Airplanes fly over the house all day long, I wonder if they will deliver at my house?. 

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