Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Uber to Begin Testing Drones for Daily Use

Recently, the American government loosened its regulations on drone usage by approving 10 projects for drone flight tests.  The purpose of the program is to run tests within the country to help grow the industry and make people more confident about the use and safety of drones.  Apple, Uber, Intel, and Microsoft are some of the companies approved to run these tests and they will soon begin testing drones for different use cases that include mapping, surveillance, and package delivery.

These tests are part of the approved 10-pilot programs that went live on Wednesday after a selection process carried out by the United States government.  The program offers waivers of current FAA regulations to certain companies who have been approved to help the government design better laws to govern the use of drones in America. For example, Apple will use drones to capture images and will work hand in hand with the U.S Department of Transportation while Uber will work on its air taxi technology to deliver food items in and around San Diego.

Some other companies like Flirtey (which is a drone company that made its first drone delivery in 2015) will be using their drones in Nevada to assist heart attack victims by delivering medical supplies during emergency situations. They will also help monitor mosquitoes in Florida.  FedEx will use drones to inspect aircraft at their hub in Tennessee and also test package delivery from the airport to other locations.  Virginia Tech will examine emergency management scenarios, inspect infrastructure and also undertake package delivery. They will partner with AT&T, Airbus, Intel and Dominion Energy.

Amazon and drone manufacture DJI were not on the list of approved companies. There was no specific reason why these 2 companies were denied,  but it is expected that in the next few months more projects will become available with new waivers and new regulations.  Even though the reason for Amazon’s rejection is unclear, it stated that it is still focused on creating safe delivery practices with drone technology. Amazon has worked with the FAA in the past to develop and test drone technology all around the world.

A total of 149 bids were submitted by various companies in the United States and now that the winners have been selected, it is expected that this will help improve the industry and create thousands of new jobs in America.

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