The race between Alphabet Inc. and Amazon to unleash the first fleet of delivery drones is now neck and neck.
The White House has given Alphabet Inc.’s delivery drone service the greenlight to start testing its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at a US site.
This initiative is part of The White House’s project to understand this technology and what safety measures need to be implemented before unleashing flocks into the open skies.
Alphabet Inc. first unveiled its secret two-year drone delivery project in 2014.
Called Project Wing, these drones were developed by X, the semi-secret research and development facility founded by Alphabet Inc., which is also involved with the self-driving cars and Glass wearable computers.
And just a year later, the search giant announced 2017 would be the year these systems will be fully employed as delivery workers – which might be true due to today’s news, which was first reported by Bloomberg.
To fund this government project, the US National Science Foundation plans to spend $35 million on unmanned vehicle research over the next five years.
While the Department of Interior plans to expand its use of drone flights, according to an e-mail Bloomberg received from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
This move is a result of the Federal Aviation Administration signing off on the first set of drone regulations that will let individuals obtain unmanned pilot licenses for commercial flights.
‘Data gathered will be shared with government partners to help regulators answer critical safety and human factors questions for UAV cargo delivery operations,’ reads the statement from The White House.
‘The company will also begin to develop and deploy an open-interface, airspace management solution for safe low-altitude small UAS (sUAS) operations using existing low cost, scalable communication and information technologies.’
‘The work, which will focus on encouraging good citizenship in operation and collaboration between and across industry and government, will help ensure safe integration of sUAS in the layer of airspace under 400 feet.’
Although Project Wing will conduct tests in its home country, Amazon announced on July 26 that they will begin testing their Prime Air services in the UK.
This move is the result of a deal with the British government and could see customers in the UK trial the new service before those in the US