The US is already testing the commercial use of drones, and it may soon start taking flights on the ground as well.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already approved a drone that can fly at altitudes of about 70 feet, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an FAA document seen by the publication.
Drones already have been used to transport goods in and around airports, and a new commercial drone that could carry people or cargo over large distances has also been in development.
But it may be a few years before the US gets its first drone capable of delivering cargo, or even flying over populated areas, as the FAA is still determining how much cargo will be required.
There are already more than 1,200 drone-based commercial flights taking place around the world, according to the Journal, and many of them have been conducted by American companies, including Boeing, which has already received approval to fly its drone for a trial run.
But the FAA hasn’t set a specific timeline for when it will approve drones for flights over populated and industrial areas, and if it does, that could set up a huge conflict between US airlines and the drone companies.
The FAA said that it would wait for the FAA to set a schedule for testing before allowing commercial flights.
If the FAA approves commercial flights for commercial drones, the Federal Aviation Agency would be the final arbiter of how many commercial flights a company can conduct without violating the rules, the Journal reports.
“There’s a huge difference between testing flights that are within the regulations and actually flying commercial flights,” Chris Arnold, an aerospace lawyer at Baker Botts LLP, told the Journal.
We’ll have to see if this is a long-term test or just a test.”‘
Drones are an amazing technology’Daryl V. Pincus, an associate professor at the University of Maryland, told ABC News that the FAA needs to have a more thorough understanding of how drone technology works before approving a commercial drone for flights.”
I think that the biggest problem with drones is that they are not yet reliable,” Pincust said.
Pincus said that in the future, the FAA could use drone technology to monitor aircraft, and then approve drone flights if they are deemed safe.