Did you hear a rumour a while back that Amazon would start shipping packages via drone?
Well, there's more news on that front today. About an hour ago, Reuters posted an article stating that the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States has approved six specific drone testing zones.
These testing zones can be used to test out drones for a number of different purchases including, you guessed it, shipping various packages to consumers. Amazon has already gone ahead with the drone delivery concept, but this won't be the only company to consider the use of drones over typical shipping methods.
The Six Testing Zones
Made obvious by the recent zone approval, the Federal Aviation Administration is okay with drones and what they are capable of accomplishing. So, where might you spot some drones that are being tested out? Keep in mind that this is limited to the United States, but the specific testing areas include testing sites on the University of Alaska campus; the North Dakota Department of Commerce; the Griffiss International Airport in New York state; Texas A&M University (Corpus Christi); and various Virginia Plytechnic Institute and State University campuses.
These drone testing sites will be home to many different types of drones that will be developed for a number of different reasons. A future that includes hundreds of drones flying above your head may not be so far away after all. For some, this is a scary notion. For others (particularly small businesses), drones may be the answer to long shipping times and high shipping costs.
The Sky's the Limit
If the thought of many drones flying through the sky seems a bit eerie to you, consider this: it is estimated that $11.6 million will be spend on unmanned aircraft development over the next few years. Yeah, that's kind of mind-blowing. So, why the test sites? To put it simply: we don't really know how drones can safely fly or will fly without testing it all out first, and what better way to test than in secure locations?
Are Amazon drones flying yet? Not yet. Amazon posted on the company blog a statement that included the phrase "a few years" in relation to package delivery, but the only thing that Amazon is waiting for is the 'Go-Ahead' form the FAA. Even though there's no official go-ahead yet, the fact that six testing sites have been named is a giant leap in that direction. Soon, very soon, you will be getting your package delivery via drone.
If you haven't already seen the Amazon drone video on the company's main blog, it's worth a look - it's all kind of mind-blowing. Are you ready for a world filled with unmanned drones? Some aren't; but we do have to consider the fact that the military has been using this kind of technology for a long time now, and it's just logical that drones would move into the civilian sphere sooner rather than later, right?
What are your thoughts on drones?