Amazon said that it’s important that a drone zone be created due to the growing popularity of the aircraft.
NASA sponsored the conference because the agency’s original mission included aviation, said Joseph Rios, NASA’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Convention project lead.
In an effort to make America’s low altitude airspace safe for package delivery – and a host of other uses – Amazon is proposing a “drone zone”. Kimchi highlighted how aircraft fighting wildfires in California have sometimes been grounded due to hobbyists flying drones to snap photos of a fire.
“I am from Seattle, there are many seagulls”, said Kimchi, according to a report in The Verge. The space between 400 and 500 feet would be a “no fly zone”, except for emergencies.
Companies see great promise in drones and the FAA has begun allowing some limited commercial use, but regulators are under pressure to open up the skies. This is where Amazon’s Prime Air drones would presumably carry out their speedy deliveries. To operate beyond the FAA’s line-of- sight requirements, Kimchi has outlined the steps that would be required.
If such proposals become reality, companies will effectively be given the go-ahead to plunge further into the realm of commercial drone development.
In other words, automated drones. Drones allowed to fly in the 200-to-400-foot zone would communicate with a central command and other drones nearby.
Sensor-based sense-and-avoid equipment that allows the drones to bypass all other drones and obstacles such as birds, buildings or electric cables. “That kind of technology is being developed”. That would replicate the current system of pilots keeping watch in the cockpit, he said. Amazon also proposes that a central computer system hold all of the drones’ flight plans and location data so that participating companies can access it freely.
Amazon isn’t the only company exmaining the use of of drones as delivery vehicles.
It seemed like if there was a theme for the drone event’s first day, it was that there are more looming questions than answers surrounding the technology.
At present, federal regulations require human air traffic controllers to monitor every flight that occurs over the United States. Other drones might fly in that low-altitude space to perform missions such as surveying crops or power lines.
With an increasing number of drones vying for precious airspace, someone should start thinking about how we can possibly hope to manage the traffic congestion that will soon be over our heads.
“Amazon believes the safest and most efficient model for sUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) with mixed equipage and capabilities is in segregated airspace with a defined structure for operations below 500 feet”, it said.