Highways for Drones?

photo credit: flickr.com/amazonlogo

photo credit: flickr.com/amazonlogo

Amazon has plans to build a highway for their delivery drones. A NASA team proposed today at a NASA Convention in California, a drone air-traffic system, named Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management. Fourteen companies have already agreed to work with multiple agencies including, Google, Amazon, Verizon Communications Inc., and Harris Corp.

This proposal seems like a long shot to be approved, as there have been hundreds of drone crashes in the past few years, including into major buildings and helicopters. The details of the proposal mentioned a slow lane for local traffic below 200 feet off the ground, and a fast lane for long-distance transport between 200 and 400 feet. One of Amazon’s vice president’s, Gur Kimchi, suggested that drones should remain within 400 feet off the ground. The team also proposed that the altitudes between 400 and 500 feet off the ground should become a no-fly zone, while anything above that is already against FAA regulations.

There is much precaution this traffic highway would have to take. The drones, and all other vehicles, would have to be able to communicate with each other. Also, representatives at the convention mentioned that a centralized computer system of known flight hazards, would have to be made for the vehicles to be aware for the million of potential hazards. Amazon specifically is pushing for this deal to get done with the help of Google, but it seems this process will take some time, with or without approval.

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