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Posted on : Wednesday 17th June 2020 04:42 PM

Google's Wing Aviation gets FAA OK for Drone Deliveries

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Google affiliate Wing Aviation has received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone.


It is the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries.


The permission from the Federal Aviation Administration means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights in part of Virginia, which it sets out to get started later this year.


The FAA said Tuesday that the company satisfied the agency's safety requirements by getting involved in a pilot project in Virginia with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech, and by conducting thousands of flights in Australia over the past several years.


"This is a very important step of progress for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy," Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. Wing said the approval "means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States."


The company did not name any businesses that would join commercial deliveries. It said it plans to take the following a few months demonstrating its technology and answering questions from people and businesses in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia. Wing said it will "solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year."


Wing announced that to win FAA certification it was required to show that one of its drone deliveries would pose less danger to pedestrians than the same trip made in a car. The company stated its drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights and made around 3,000 deliveries to customers in Australia.


The company is hyping numerous benefits from deliveries by electric drones. It says medicine and food can be delivered quickly, that drones will be specifically practical to consumers who need help getting around, and that they can reduce traffic and emissions.


Drone usage in the U.S. is growing quickly in some industries such as for example utilities, pipelines and agriculture. But drones have encountered more limitations in delivering retail packages and food because of federal regulations that bar most flights over crowds of people and beyond sight of the operator without a waiver from the FAA.


The federal government recently estimated that about 110,000 commercial drones were operating in the U.S., and that number is anticipated to zoom to about 450,000 in 2022. Amazon is working on drone delivery, a topic keen to CEO Jeff Bezos. Delivery companies including UPS and DHL in addition have conducted tests.


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