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FAA certifies Alphabet Wing to make commercial drone deliveries

FAA certifies Alphabet Wing to make commercial drone deliveries

Wing, an off-shoot of Google parent company Alphabet, has won approval from the FAA to begin drone deliveries in the United States, the first such approval in the US.

Wing has previously received go-ahead for commercial drone deliveries in Australia, where regulators warmed to the concept sooner than in the U.S. Wing has partnered with an assortment of retail businesses to provide services in rural locations.

"This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy, " Chao said.

"For the next several months, we'll be reaching out to businesses and community members in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas to demonstrate out technology, answer questions, and solicit feedback", Wing said.

Consumers can monitor and learn about Wing Aviation drones they may see or hear nearby, Wing says.

Wing's electric drones are powered by 14 propellers and can carry loads of up to 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). Wing worked to prove not only that drone delivery was safe - but that it was actually safer than the alternatives.

Amazon had placed itself as the company leading the race to get drones to deliver packages right to the homes of customers, but now it may find itself lagging behind when it comes to regulation.

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In Australia-where the company has been testing since 2014-Wing drones deliver everything from burritos and coffees to over-the-counter medications.

In May 2018, Chao announced approval for 10 projects to help assess how to regulate drones and integrate them safely into USA air space. It also submitted data to show that making a delivery with one of its drones carries lower risks than using a vehicle.

In January, the FAA proposed rules that would allow drones to operate over populated areas and end a requirement for special permits for night use. "Safety is our most important focus, and we'll continue to work with the FAA on additional approvals to expand our capabilities". Things like food and medicine can be delivered faster by drone, giving busy individuals more free time.

Apparently, the future of residential and commercial drone package delivery is closer than most realize-even if it hasn't penetrated main population centers just yet.

Until now, other companies working in this space were only allowed to perform test flights and deliveries over rather short distances.

The U.S. federal government recently estimated that about 110,000 commercial drones were operating in the U.S., and that number is expected to zoom to about 450,000 in 2022.


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