Drone deliveries in the US could happen 'within months'

Pressure from the White House could help push the regulations needed to make drone deliveries a reality in the US.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Limited package deliveries by commercial drones could be coming to the US within a few months, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
  • Many commercial drone initiatives in the US have run into regulatory roadblocks from the Federal Aviation Administration and others.

Drone delivery could be coming to the US very soon: Package delivery trials are expected to begin "within months," according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

According to the report, which cited federal regulators and industry officials as sources, the White House is pushing for closer collaboration between the government and companies like Amazon in hopes of developing an authorization for drone ventures like Amazon's Prime Air. Delivery initiatives have been in the works for years, but have stalled due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

However, the drone delivery projects seem much closer to launch this time around, the report said. Additionally, the report cited senior FAA air-traffic control official Jay Merkle who said drone projects "might be ready to operate this summer."

SEE: Drone policy (Tech Pro Research)

Still, the companies behind the projects will first have to overcome the existing FAA regulations and law enforcement security concerns before proceeding, the report said.

Australia, Singapore, and Britain are leading the pack when it comes to drone delivery tech, the report said. And while the US has at least 10 FAA-approved pilot programs for drone projects expected to start this spring, it's still lagging pretty far behind other nations.

These kinds of drone initiatives have been years in the making, but the report noted a "marked shift in tone from Washington" which could signal a shorter path to market. However, there's also the challenge of dealing with various state and local governments as well.

In addition to Prime Air, other companies like UPS have gotten in the drone game. The shipping giant has experimented with launching delivery drones from the tops of its trucks to help with certain routes.

Additionally, a food delivery service in Reykjavik, Iceland is using autonomous drones to deliver orders as well. And companies like DroneDeploy are using UAVs in the agricultural space.

Also see

Image: Amazon

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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