In an effort to pass Amazon’s drone plans, Google is conducting their own testing in Australia as a means of bypassing limits set by the Federal Aviation Association or FAA. Google’s self-flying drone design to delivery packages has been in the works for the past two years. However, the company announced this morning that innovation on commercial drones is not being held up while waiting for FAA approval of regulations in a fast growing sector.
Resistance from the FAA
Google went on to note in a news release that Australia was chosen as the site for testing for two reasons, it offers wide-open spaces needed to fly the drones and this country has been heavily involved with innovative technology to include unmanned aerial vehicles, drones.
In comparison, commercial drone testing has been met with resistance in the United States by the FAA. Because of this, Google’s original plan for drafting rules that would allow drones to fly but without compromising security and/or privacy will not be met as anticipated.
While concerns remain, Google and other companies feel strongly that moving goods via drones offers incredible opportunities for both businesses and consumers. They state that using self-flying vehicles for this purpose is more cost-efficient, faster, less wasteful, and more environmentally friendly than delivery options currently available.
Secretive “Project Wing”
Known as “Project Wing”, Google claims delivery via drone would make it much easier to reach isolated areas, especially during times of emergency. However, actual delivery services using drones are years away according to the secretive and highly innovative laboratory, “Google X”.
Once approved, drones could fly pre-programmed routes, much like the design of self-driving cars, also being worked on in this laboratory, and years away from becoming available due to both design and regulation challenges.
To demonstrate drone testing in Australia, Google just released a video. On this video, examples of service to include food and water delivery to barren parts of Australia’s country are shown. According to Astro Teller, leader of Google X’s creative team, the overall goal of Project Wing is to make it easier to move things throughout the world. He also states that by working together, future goals can be met quickly.
Competing with Amazon
In 2013, Amazon also unveiled its own prototypes of drones designed to deliver packages in small areas of a city. However, the FAA deemed their plan illegal, since regulations that would allow commercial drones to fly were still pending.
Also in 2013, a representative for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems stated that more than 70,000 jobs would be created with the use of commercial drones but in addition, if allowed to fly in the United States, these unmanned flying vehicles could yield revenue upwards of $14 billion.