29 Jul Amazon details its plan for how drones can fly safely over U.S. skies
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Amazon sparked interest in drones more than a year and a half ago when it revealed on “60 Minutes” a program to use drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes. Since then the Amazon Prime Air engineers have largely kept a low profile as they test their technology overseas.
But at a conference Tuesday attended by leading players in the burgeoning drone world, Gur Kimchi, vice president of Amazon Prime Air, shared the company’s proposal for how drones could operate safely in cities, suburbs and beyond around the world.
“Imagine the Internet without HTTP and TCP/IP,” Kimchi said. “That’s basically where we are now. So we’re putting our foot down, and we’d like everybody to feel an urgent need to come together and create these standards and adapt them.”
He spoke at the NASA Ames Research Center, which is hosting hundreds of guests for a three-day conference to discuss an air traffic management system for drones.
Amazon suggests divvying up airspace access based on a drone’s mission and capabilities. Drones would connect to an online network that manages their flights in real time to prevent any trouble. Amazon believes this approach will ensure safe and efficient drone flights
Kimchi is calling for airspace under 200 feet to be designated for low-speed localized traffic. Drones in this space might be surveying, shooting videos or conducting inspections. Drones without the best collision-avoid technology would also be restricted to this level.