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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 30, 2015

Amazon proposes 'drone zones'

Amazon wants to divvy up the sky to allow for low altitude airspace in which drones can safely transport packages for delivery.

by Helen Leggatt

Amazon's proposed drone zone could see the unmanned vehicles flying at low levels, below the height of regular airplanes, at heights of 200 to 400 feet.

The proposal suggests zoning airspace below 200ft for low-speed localized drone traffic such as surveying, filming and private hobby drones while the space between 200 and 400 feet would be allocated for the use of "high-speed transit" such as Amazon would use for delivery of its online orders.

Currently the FAA only allows drones to climb to 400 feet, they must remain within the pilot's line of sight and can not fly within 5 miles of an airport.

NASA has been developing a cloud-based air traffic management system that enable unmanned aerial systems (UAS), such as drones, to safely fly at altitudes of less than 500 feet.

"A few years ago, we started thinking we needed some way to coordinate UAS traffic so they could operate safely at low altitudes," said Dr. Parimal Kopardekar, UTM Principal Investigator at the NASA Ames Research Center. "It's just like with autonomous cars. Even though they're autonomous, you still need roads and traffic lights. We need a way to organize the UAS traffic, whether that's by crisscrossing or with a bike lane or HOV lane kind of construct. The system can make these things happen based on demand. UTM is a virtual system."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: amazon, drone

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