Amazon has already made its drone delivery intentions public but it goes without saying that the company is going to face a tough time in putting all the pieces together for such a service to be launched. It won’t just have to jump through technological hoops, there are legal and regulatory matters to be sorted out before drone deliveries can be a thing. Its new proposal calls basically calls for drone-only highways to be established above cities and suburbs which will only be used by high-speed autonomous drones.
The company predicts that within ten years hundreds of thousands of small drones will take to the sky, Amazon won’t be behind all of them and not every drone will be delivering goods, yet to manage this traffic it proposes that a slice of airspace be provided so that drones can operate freely.
Amazon’s aeronautics experts propose that a 200ft air corridor at 200ft and 400ft from the ground be reserved for drones of the future that fly at speeds of 60 knots or more and have technology onboard which enables them to speak with each other in order to reduce the possibilities of a crash.
It’s also proposed that a 100ft corridor between 400ft and 500ft be declared a no-fly zone which will effectively act as a buffer between the drones and conventional aircraft such as commercial planes, thus reducing fears about drones coming in contact with planes and posing a huge safety risk both up in the air and on the ground.
The proposal points out that only those drones will be provided access to this corridor that have technology onboard which enables them to fly autonomous and safely. “Under our proposal everybody has to be collaborative – vehicles must be able to talk to each other and avoid each other as the airspace gets denser at low altitudes,” says Gur Kimchi, co-founder and vice-president of Amazon Prime Air.
Amazon’s proposal was presented earlier today at a Nasa UTM Convention at Nasa Ames in California.