DLR Symposium on Automated Low-Altitude Air Delivery

Popular projects of Amazon, DHL, UPS, Boeing and recently formed knowledge centers in the context of unmanned cargo aircraft show the increasing interest in unmanned airborne transportation. Moving forward with new concepts, DLR (German Aerospace Center) has conducted a four year research project between 2016 and 2019 on cargo drones with up to a one metric ton payload capacity. This project took advantage of a newly established operational risk approach introducing a new perspective on regulating the safety of unmanned aviation.

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US set to announce participants in new slate of drone tests


US set to announce participants in new slate of drone tests

(Reuters) – Major technology and aerospace companies including Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Intel Corp (INTC.O), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA) are vying to take part in a new slate of drone tests the United States is set to announce on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The wide interest in the U.S. initiative, launched by President Donald Trump last year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for everything from package delivery to crop inspection.

The pilot program will allow a much larger range of tests than are generally permitted by federal aviation regulators, including flying drones at night, over people and beyond an operator’s line of sight. Continue reading “US set to announce participants in new slate of drone tests”

NASA & Amazon are researching traffic between drones and airplanes

NASA & Amazon

NASA & Amazon are researching traffic between drones and airplanes

NASA and Amazon.com Inc. are tapping experts in France to figure out how to coordinate drone traffic, bolstering the country’s role as a hub for evolving regulation of unmanned aircraft.

While Amazon hired a team in a Paris suburb, NASA headed closer to plane-maker Airbus SE’s home in Toulouse, calling on drone designer Delair-Tech to test prototypes for air traffic management software. It’s a key part of convincing regulators unmanned vehicles are safe to fly higher and further out of sight from their operators, such as while delivering goods.

“Coordinating traffic between drones, as well as with planes, it’s the end-goal that’s mobilizing a lot of people across the industry,” said entrepreneur Michael de Lagarde, chief executive officer of Delair-Tech. “Today, we’re collectively at level zero of traffic management, we just segment the air space.” Continue reading “NASA & Amazon are researching traffic between drones and airplanes”

Amazon is granted patent for delivery drone that can respond to human gestures (Video)

delivery drone

Amazon.com has been granted a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures.

The concept is part of Amazon’s goal to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. Issued earlier this week, the patent may help Amazon grapple with how flying robots might interact with human bystanders and customers waiting on their doorsteps.

Depending on a person’s gestures — a welcoming thumbs up, shouting or frantic arm waving — the drone can adjust its behavior, according to the patent. The machine could release the package it’s carrying, alter its flight path to avoid crashing, ask humans a question or abort the delivery, the patent says.

Among several illustrations in the design, a person is shown outside his home, flapping his arms in what Amazon describes as an “unwelcoming manner,” to show an example of someone shooing away a drone flying overhead. A voice bubble comes out of the man’s mouth, depicting possible voice commands to the incoming machine. (Amazon.com chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Continue reading “Amazon is granted patent for delivery drone that can respond to human gestures (Video)”

Drone-based package delivery has environmental advantages, study shows

Drone-based package delivery

One annoyance of ordering items from the internet is waiting for delivery. That’s why many companies are set on making sure you get your items as quickly as possible — like Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping.

But shipping, especially fast, comes at an environmental cost. Previous studies have shown that moving goods by conventional aircraft is four times more carbon-intensive than by truck, which is 10 times more carbon-intensive than rail. Since many companies including Amazon, UPS, Boeing and Flirtey are working toward adding drones to speed up the delivery process and greenhouse gases are releasing into Earth’s atmosphere at an alarming rate, it’s important to look at the potential environmental footprint of delivery drones. 

A group of researchers released a study Tuesday in Nature Communicationsthat looks at energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of drone deliveries. Using a model, they found there could be environmental benefits to using drones versus trucks in some scenarios. Continue reading “Drone-based package delivery has environmental advantages, study shows”

Amazon, Boeing, GE, Google announce plans to develop private UTM system for drones

UTM system

During last week’s FAA Symposium in Baltimore, Amazon, Boeing, GE, and Google announced that they are ready to start working on the development of a private Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system for drones. Testing in conjunction with NASA is supposed to start in the next three months. The system will enable swarms of drones to fly a couple of hundred feet above the ground using cellular and web applications to avoid collisions and allow for remote tracking.


Amazon, Boeing, and Google have already expressed their visions of deliveries made by drones in the future. The companies have also started testing these new technologies on small scale. However, large-scale use of drones to make deliveries will require a robust drone traffic management system, that will prevent drones from crashing into each other or, worse, manned aircraft. Continue reading “Amazon, Boeing, GE, Google announce plans to develop private UTM system for drones”

What’s in Store for Commercial Delivery Drones

Commercial Delivery Drones

It’s Sunday night, dinner’s on the stove, and your fifth-grader suddenly remembers that she needs a costume for the Arbor Day play tomorrow morning at school.

Cue the drones.

If companies like Amazon, Google, UPS, and Alibaba have their way, drones will soon play an increasingly significant role in the “last-mile” delivery — from warehouse to doorstep — of small, light packages that a customer needs now. Given that almost 80 percent of what consumers order online weighs 5 lb or less, delivery drones could have important implications for energy consumption, public safety, privacy, air and noise pollution, and air traffic management. Continue reading “What’s in Store for Commercial Delivery Drones”

Amazon and UPS are investing big in drone deliveries


Amazon and UPS are investing big in drone deliveries

  • Drone deliveries could be faster and cheaper than existing logistics methods.
  • Companies like Amazon and UPS are investing big in developing flying robots to make deliveries.

In theory, getting a recent purchase delivered in mere minutes is every consumer’s dream.

In practice? It’s not exactly easy to do.

The logistics are complex and intense. The regulatory hurdles are steep and covered with red tape. And like autonomous vehicles, the technology is already capable of the task at hand – however, it will take time to build acceptance and trust with customers to allow drones to fly onto their property for any purpose. Continue reading “Amazon and UPS are investing big in drone deliveries”

Amazon completes first drone delivery, reveals plans for flying drone hub

Amazon completes first drone delivery, reveals plans for flying drone hub

Amazon.com always seems to be ahead of the curve, but in recent weeks the company has made a tidal wave of advances showing off the strides it’s made.

  • In December, it unveiled the first Amazon Go location, a convenience store without cashiers or checkout lines where cameras and artificial intelligence recognize what you take off the shelves and charge your account accordingly.
  • Also last month, the company successfully made its first ever drone delivery, carrying popcorn and a Fire TV device to a customer in rural England, a trip from click to delivery that took just 13 minutes.
  • Last week, reports emerged than Amazon was planning to launch its own private label athleisure line, challenging Lululemon athletica and other such clothing makers as it takes further steps into the apparel industry. 
  • Amazon gained a patent for something resembling an airborne warehouse that would serve as a docking station for drones. The warehouse, envisioned as something like a blimp, would be able to move near events such as sports games, where it could make drone deliveries to fans.

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