Drone delivery technology has accomplished incredible things in 2021, offering everything from hot wings to 3D printed organs. Drones are already capable of piloting themselves, covering hundreds of miles on a single charge, and traversing landscapes from cities to suburbs and everywhere in between.
So… why has drone delivery not taken off? The simple answer is that the FAA’s regulations in the United States are currently stricter than those in countries like Ireland, Canada, Uganda, and Rwanda.
But the best answer, and the FAA’s answer, would be security. The agency has slowly liberalized its own rules over the years, most recently adding two provisions in April that allowed operations over people and at night, but flights still cannot travel beyond line of sight. visual (BVLOS), which hinders the growth of drones. delivery services. The FAA established a BVLOS Operations Regulatory Advisory Committee this year, but so far no policy has emerged from this group.
This week, however, the prospect of drone delivery was boosted when it was announced that the FAA would accredit the Drone Racing League (DRL), the top professional league for drone racing, as the premier event organizer. of the country’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). DRL will also become the seventh member of the FAA’s Security Plan Partnership (PSP), which seeks to establish standardized security protocols for drone operations in the United States.
With one-of-a-kind accreditation, DRL will essentially serve as the FAA’s supervisor for drone events, which can range from air shows and recreational demonstrations to ground displays with a live audience. DRL will help the FAA to make these events as safe as possible by evaluating safety protocols and technology, creating and enforcing official safety guidelines for drone events, and educating the wider drone community on the practices. sure.
“We are honored that the FAA has accredited DRL as the premier UAS event organization, and we are delighted to participate in the FAA’s PSP program to ensure safety is the priority of all UAS events,” said Ashley Ellefson, Managing Director of DRL. “We look forward to sharing our drone event safety expertise more widely with the industry and continuing to work with venue organizers to deliver safe and spectacular drone racing experiences in the most unique spaces and the most incredible. “
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Making the safe spectacular is nothing new to DRL. In 2016, the league worked with the White House Office of Science and Technology to develop standardized safety protocols for the entire drone racing community, and it is also a member of the Commercial Drone Alliance, a commercial organization focused on improving drone safety to support the integration of drones into the US sky.
During its own events, DRL takes safety seriously, using technological controls that can stop drones in flight, netting to protect pilots and spectators, and strict course closures to keep people as far away as possible potential dangers.
DRL will also sign as the newest member of the FAA’s PSP, joining partners like Amazon Prime Air, UPS Flight Forward Inc. and Wing, the drone delivery arm of Alphabet. As a PSP partner, the league will provide the FAA with mutually beneficial data that will inform the government agency’s rules and standards for drones.
DRL will continue to educate the public about drone safety through methods such as speaking on drone safety signs, creating informative social media video series, and even video games –– the DRL game. SIM is designed to help gamers learn about drone safety and is available on Xbox, Playstation, Steam, and Epic Games.
This is not DRL’s first step in accelerating the commercialization of drone delivery. Last month, he brought in drone company Draganfly (NASDAQ: DPRO) to create DRL Labs, which they hope will serve as a testing ground for new innovations in drone safety. Through this partnership, DRL will test things like AI, automation, vital intelligence sensors, and detection and avoidance technology.
But now, with FAA accreditation as a UAS event organizer, DRL can bring some of these innovations to the public. In establishing this new position, the FAA has indicated that it wants to organize more drone pilots, demonstrations and events around people, a step that brings drone delivery closer to reality.
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