In his lunchtime keynote address to the 60th ATCA (Air Traffic Control Association) Annual Conference, David Vos, project leader for Google X’s Project Wing, told attendees that Google was working with the FAA and other industry experts on setting up an air traffic control system for drones. The proposed air traffic control system could use cellular and Internet technology to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicle flights at altitudes under 500 feet.
Despite the FAA’s missed September deadline for drone regulations, Vos hopes a system will be in place soon. “Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” Reuters reports that he told the audience.”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,”
Mr. Vos is co-chair of the FAA Drone Registry task force, and says that a drone registry is the first step in developing a drone air traffic control system. He indicated that he supports the idea of low-altitude airspace being designated specifically for drones, keeping them out of the way of larger aircraft while allowing them to fly over populated areas.
Project Wing’s successful trial flight was posted on Twitter last month, proving that the technology for drone delivery is in place. Drone delivery is being tested internationally across the globe by mail offices, commercial delivery services, and disaster relief teams, but FAA regulations currently prohibit commercial drone operators from implementing a delivery system in the US.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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