Google to deliver packages via unmanned drones in 2017


The project leader for Alphabet's Project Wing, David Vos announced during a speech at an air traffic control convention in Washington that Google will start delivering packages to its consumers via unmanned drones in 2017. "Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” Vos said. According to Reuters, Vos said that ‘his company is in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders about setting up an air traffic control system for drones that would use cellular and Internet technology to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicle flights at altitudes under 500 feet (152 meters).”

The new project, which was first run inside Google X secretive research lab, will now be under control of Google’s new parent company Alphabet Inc aiming to change the way packages are delivered to customers by using unmanned aircraft. The kind of drones Google will be using or the type of packages to be delivered are not announced yet, but according to a few early reports in 2014  when the  idea first popped up, the company will use its drone delivery service for urgent needs in case of disasters and medical supplies.

Amazon, Alibaba and a few other online retailers have already started to experiment the drone delivery service. According to BBC, “Amazon has already detailed its plans to use drones to deliver goods. It said its octocopters could ferry 2.3kg of goods to customers within 30 minutes of an order being placed. In addition, in early 2015, China's largest online retailer Alibaba carried out a three-day trial of drone delivery around its offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.”

Vos said for Reuters that within 12 months, Google and FAA will be working together to create  a system for identifying drone operators and keep UAV away from other aircraft and controlled airspace by using altitude "Class G" airspace.  “We're pretty much on a campaign here, working with the FAA, working with the small UAV community and the aviation community at large, to move things along,” he said.

A drone registry , which will be ready to be set by Obama administration by December 20, 2015, “would be a first step toward a system that could use wireless telecommunications and Internet technology including cellphone applications to identify drones and keep UAV clear of other aircraft and controlled airspace,” Vos told Reuters. However, drone deliveries will not start running until the final rules for commercial drone operations are published by FAA.

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