Jack M. Germain
Apr 29, 2021 4:00 AM PT
There has been a surge in online shopping in the past year due to the pandemic. Rapid adoption has advanced the expected timeline for consumers to expand their forays into online shopping. It also opened the door for the drone delivery industry to meet the growing demand for increased online deliveries.
Companies looking to compete with the cutting-edge delivery options offered by Amazon and UPS are looking for drone-powered delivery options. Will this be the future of delivery?
Aviation is a highly regulated environment, including unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). So what does this mean in terms of airspace safety? Will the FAA create special permits for drones that will allow them to fly autonomously and deliver packages faster than ground delivery?
Perhaps in the long run. But don’t expect your online purchases to fall from the sky anytime soon, warns aviation security expert Mark Bayer, CEO. Aviation and ARC security management software systems. It won’t be easy.
TechNewsWorld has asked Baier for information on the safety implications of future drone delivery. Obviously, if federal regulations provide more options for drone delivery, such placement could be a boon for e-commerce.
There is hope in the air
According to Bayer, the two concepts – drone safety and the impact of drones on e-commerce – are intertwined. Both topics have generated a lot of buzz around drone delivery potential, probably over the past five or six years.
All this hype has not yet turned into reality. Some security issues are not actually resolved or resolved.
“This is a big step. First of all, I want to say that delivery by drones, in my opinion, is practically reliable. It’s just a matter of time at what scale and what the deployment will look like, ”he told TechNewsWorld.
Most people imagine that drone delivery will be like the science fiction we all have in mind, of drones landing in our yards filled with our packages. What’s more, people in the industry tend to see it as a much more gradual process.
It will probably be a mixed approach for a while before we get really specialized drone services for a wider range of tasks. Bayer believes the only hurdle that has recently been removed was the FAA’s decision on where to conduct commercial drone operations.
More regulated than not
For a long time, the FAA was divided between drone operations permitted under general aviation regulations, or complying with Part 135 aviation regulations rather than Part 121. The difference is significant.
Part 121 deals with commercial air travel for scheduled flights with paid passengers or customers. Part 135 governs on-demand and scheduled charter flights. Regular charter flights are usually limited to a few days a week.
“So this means delivery drones may be more regulated than some of the drone industries have had to consider. But at least they now have a roadmap to follow, ”explained Byer.
The FAA had to include some exceptions because these regulations are for passenger transport and the transport of passengers. Of course, you can follow the standards and standards and protocols of the pipe fitting safety management system for commercial operators. But the exceptions had to take into account the existing rules concerning only travel of passengers and passengers with airports.
We oversee 100 years of experience in manned flight and training. Bayer thinks that in the next couple of years, we will see the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) try to find a middle ground so that drone regulations don’t just overlay the existing, albeit slightly more onerous, regulatory process on something that is likely different. in its own category.
Delving into drone delivery capabilities
TechNewsWorld engages Bayer in an in-depth conversation about how (and if) drone regulations and consumer drive for fast air delivery will safely coexist.
TechNewsWorld: How competitive is the Part 135 drone certification process?
Mark Bayer: Five operators who have applied for this Part 135 certification have so far been cleared to deliver drones. But in reality it is still very, very specific, very limited involving a single drone operator. One certificate is only for medical deliveries to a specific hospital in North Carolina.
Another applicant Flirting, a trucking service in Nevada. This company has not yet been certified. If approved, the majority of this drone’s flight will take place in open spaces and farmland.
The third company is quite efficient in delivering medicines to rural and remote areas. The fourth approved drone delivery service is for a company called Google Wings. I’m not really sure what they are going to do.
[Editor’s Note: Wing (pictured above) is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Also known as Project Wing; it is currently offering trial delivery to parts of Christiansburg, VA.]
According to Bayer, the fourth approved drone delivery service out of five applicants is Amazon Prime.
Are some industries more economically viable to support drone shipments?
Bayer: The medical industry will undoubtedly be more active in considering the use of drones, probably for anything from plasma to organs, but even for something as harmless as delivering insulin to someone who may not be using the normal delivery route. I think the medical industry is really at the forefront of some of these because they may also get more exemptions in terms of regulation.
At this stage, people need to understand that this is an economically disadvantageous method of delivering parcels. Probably, it won’t be for a while. Drones are not as reliable as surface vehicles, which is why many are not equipped with equipment. Consequently, in bad weather, you may have to return to road transport at this stage. Thus, the profitability of parcel delivery is likely to decrease in some way.
Drone delivery companies have the financial ability to get ahead. I also think that in some industries where cost is not an issue – where time is more important than cost – you can see how drones are starting to play an important role.
How difficult is reliable drone operations?
Bayer: Commercial drone operations are difficult, even if it costs a lot of money. So I think there is probably still a long way to go before general drone delivery of parcels. But as far as your opinion is concerned, I believe that Covid-19 and other factors are propelling it forward faster than they probably would have happened before Covid.
How much does the weight of the parcels affect drone flight?
Bayer: There is now a technology limitation and a cost limitation. As far as I understand, the FAA says that the weight of the package will be limited to four pounds. But there is a little weird quirk in this. The drone comes up and hovers about 20 feet above your property and actually lowers the package with a leash instead of landing and dropping it.
I think this is about security, privacy and security issues that they haven’t figured out yet. These zoom issues are associated with avoiding pillows, children, etc., so they prefer to have the drone hover 20 feet away. They drop the bag and then fly off, which again limits the weight you can carry.
In terms of drone operations, are pilots flying them from fixed locations, or are there GPS systems on board for automatic delivery?
Bayer: Drones are now controlled by humans. The only difference with delivery drones is the installation of navigation equipment so you can work out of line of sight. Thus, it is an improved instrument, but there are still flight operators; none of them is fully automated yet.
Some of the drones have geofencing and built-in defense mechanisms that are automated. If you lose contact with the drone, it will block itself or hover until you find it.
Can a parallel be drawn between drone delivery logistics and self-driving cars?
Bayer: We’re definitely looking at two different things. Ground vehicles require many more sensors due to obstacles on the ground. But I think it’s also a factor that drones are being operated according to slightly more traditional aviation regulations at the moment. Both systems can be fully automated one day. This is a very high probability, but there is more to come.
What other potential obstacles to drones flying off the ground?
Bayer: People forget that it can be FDA regulated up to 4,400 feet. Once you get below that level, you can see a tiered patchwork quilt from local, state, and county regulations that eventually merge with the FAA. So you can see that drone delivery is faster in one place than another, just because local regulations will be different.
There are many more complexities and complications for unmanned aerial vehicles than for aircraft that fly in the airspace between airports as such. You will also still have privacy issues below 400 feet that need to be addressed with drones. This will raise some liability and legal issues.
How does drone licensing work?
Bayer: Drone operators are now expected to operate to higher standards. The licensing process is actually a certificate for that particular operator. Imagine UPS has a drone division. This division will be completely decoupled from its own operating license. The aircraft operating company will report directly to the FAA or to the local flight standards office (FSDO).
Two licenses are not required. UPS is the parent company. The certificate for work with the drone will be sent to the office of its unit.