“Honestly, the way I think about these issues, I don’t think about the problems,” the head of Project Wing, Dave Vos, said at a White House event to promote drone technology. “I think about the solutions that we can bring to bear.”

Google’s Project Wing drone delivery trial has been financially backed by the United States government, which believes the unmanned aircraft systems industry could create as many as 100,000 jobs.

As part of the government UAS development project, Project Wing will become operational at one of the Federal Aviation Authority’s test sites.

The drones will be tested with external cargo loads to devise a way to fly them beyond line of sight at the Northern Plains UAS test site in North Dakota.

Tests will go from the ground surface to 29,000 feet (8840 metres) in the air, without chase aircraft, to try out the use of faster and heavier UAS at
high altitudes.

Google will also develop and deploy an open-interface airspace management solution for safe low altitude drone operations which uses existing, cheap and scalable communications and information technologies, the White House said.

This is a big announcement and a big win for Google. Very noteworthy for clearance to test to 29,000’AGL which would definitely put a drone in competition with other air delivery craft. Though it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Makes you wonder how big these drones will have to be to carry enough battery to support that kind of flight profile, the communications hardware and lift enough to make it all worthwhile. My bet is over 55 pounds and moving much faster than 100mph.
“Data gathered will be shared with government partners to help regulators answer critical safety and human-factors questions for (drone) cargo delivery operations,” the White House said in a news release.
And while advancing knowledge is a wonderful thing, I am certain that all three companies will be using the data to determine the economic feasibility of this solution especially in the face of uncertain consumer demand.

“It’s a solution in search of a problem,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

“If it’s an efficiency solution then maybe it works but I don’t think we need it,” Pachter said. “I’ve never gone on Amazon and ordered something I needed
that second.”

And Pachter questions whether flying drones over heavily populated areas will ever become politically palatable.

“The paranoia of U.S. politicians is such that they will never approve of flying them over large groups of people,” Pachter said. “Can you imagine if a drone failed over the freeway and it landed on your windshield? No matter how it works there will be so many regulations that they’ll never be as efficient as dreamed.”

Together with the Amazon trials in the UK and the Flirtey “slurpee” tests in Nevada, we are about to learn a lot more about what it really takes to do this.

read more at uasvision.com

read more at Bloomberg

read more at San Jose Mercury News

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