Commercial drone experiments outsourced to cities, counties

28 October 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Local governments have a chance to jump into the drone development business, by invitation from none other than the Trump administration. An order signed by president Trump gives the Federal Aviation Administration three months to create a program that will allow local, state and tribal governments to propose unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilot projects, in partnership with private companies, to see what might and might not be feasible to write into FAA regulations in the future.… More

FAA rules out Internet drones and delivery copters for now

28 February 2015 by Steve Blum
, ,

Amazon’s planned drone deliver service didn’t get any love from the Federal Aviation Administration, nor did proposals to use unmanned aircraft as Internet access points, but at least the door is now open for companies to use the technology for commercial purposes. After two years of thinking about it, the FAA released draft regulations that would allow commercial drone use within limits. A summary is here.

For example, operators (or an observer) need to maintain visual line of sight with the drone, which can’t deliver cargo and can’t fly any higher than 500 feet or faster than 100 miles an hour.… More

Zuckerberg wants fill planet's toughest broadband gaps with drones

There’s a huge difference between some Internet access, no matter how poor, and none at all. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is looking at drones as economically sustainable broadband infrastructure where conventional technology doesn’t cut it. In a white paper published on, Zuckerberg frames the question…

Our research has shown that approximately 80–90% of the world’s population lives today in areas already covered by 2G or 3G networks. These environments are mostly urban or semi-urban, and the basic cell and fiber infrastructure has already been constructed here by mobile operators.


There's broadband meat behind the drone delivery sizzle

4 December 2013 by Steve Blum
, , , , , ,

Looks like someone ordered a barbeque.

Amazon’s PR people deserve a hearty round of applause. They dropped the perfect Cyber Monday story this Sunday evening when Jeff Bezos teased plans to build a fleet of drone helicopters that will deliver five pound packages in half an hour.

But assuming it has some remote connection to reality, the real news is what it implies about Amazon’s roadmap for expansion. Those drones are not supersonic. Even with zero time to process and pick an order, a half hour service radius of 50 kilometers would probably be an overly optimistic guess – Bezos talked about a 10 mile range.… More