Flirtey Completes Drone Delivery in U.S. Urban Environment
Drone startup Flirtey recently completed the first drone delivery sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration in a U.S. urban area without the help of manual human steering.
The half mile-drone flight took place in Hawthorne, Nevada, on March 10.
The drone carried a parcel of purported emergency supply items to the front porch of an empty house. The cargo box was lowered on a tether while the drone hovered overhead. The drone’s flight path was reportedly programmed using GPS. The test was carried out the test with Flirtey’s partner, the University of Nevada at Reno.
Last year, Flirtey conducted the first FAA-approved drone delivery in a rural area by dropping off emergency supplies to a health clinic in Virginia. The 10-pound Flirtey aircraft also lowered its cargo via tether.
A plane operated by NASA delivered the medicine to a Wise County, Virginia, regional airport and the Flirtey-operated drone took 24 packages the rest of the way, to a remote pop-up clinic that offers medical care to area residents one weekend per year at the county fairgrounds.
The delivery was performed under FAA authority granted to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech University.
The Australia-based Flirtey already provides drone deliveries in New Zealand, where it is allowed by law.
The FAA has yet to finalize regulations on the use of airspace by drones to perform household deliveries. Papers published by Amazon, which is working on a drone program, call for certain communication and navigation capabilities be required to gain access to certain airspace. Drone operators would be allowed airspace access depending on the capabilities of their vehicles and where they intend to operate. Amazon advocates carving out “segregated blocks of airspace below 500 feet and away from most manned aviation operations.”
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