This week Google announced a plan to have their same day drone delivery fleet operational by 2017.
They are the first major company to make this kind of commitment.
This puts Google ahead of major players such as Amazon and Walmart, all exploring this technology as a means to disrupt traditional business models for short-term shipping.
Dave Vos, executive in charge of Google’s Project Wing, told a Washington DC conference that the company was in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to achieve a workable framework for the commercial operation of drones.
“We are pretty much on a campaign here,” said Vos who is co-chair of an FAA task force, which is working on ways to ensure drone use, is safe, secure, and profitable.
Their agenda includes the compilation of a roster of drone operators and a feasible strategy to ensure that drones could not interfere with traditional aircraft flight paths at low altitudes.
“We are working with the small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) community and the aviation community at large, to move things along,” he said. “We think we can accomplish a lot in the next three, six, 12 months. And we are hoping to get some strong support to make this happen.”
Vos explained that the task force aimed to establish an air traffic control system dedicated to UAV’s that would utilise mobile and internet technology in order to coordinate drone flights at under 152 metres.
Google’s plan is for door-to-door deliveries to be made in a 30 minute window. In the scheme right now a drone can complete this by landing or the UAV can hover over its final destination while its cargo is winched to the ground.
The company’s confidence that they can meet their deadline in just under 18 months is based, said Vos, on the successful outcome of Project Wing’s test program in Australia.
Started in September 2014 and based in the outback Google’s drones, which have the capacity to ship a weight of 2.3kg, delivered packages like dog food and first-aid to farmers in order to evaluate performance.
Vos explained to delegates that the company’s ambitions are bolstered further by the fact that the Obama administration expects the FAA drone roster finalised by 20 December.