A new report reveals how Google can test their Wing delivery drones over private land in the United States.
Earlier this year Google gave a glimpse into their secret drone program called project Wing. Google aims to develop a delivery solution for rural areas with fast drones.
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The 25kg Wing drone combines the design elements of a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter. This makes it able to hover and fly at the same time. Engineers borrowed their design from the iconic tail-sitter configuration from Lockheed. It is supposed to reach speeds of 100mph.
For commercial companies flying drones in the United States is a problem. There is a full ban on commercial operation of drones. Companies have to apply for license at the FAA that has strict requirements. One of the requirements is that the drones are operated by a licensed pilot.
The Guardian has obtained now a document that Google found a way around this via a cooperation with NASA. Guardian's Mark Harris:"For more than a year, Google has been quietly operating its drones in America under Nasa’s Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), a program originally intended for government agencies."
While this is a legal grey zone, Google seems to be in the clear as Wing is not a commerce service yet. It is still in development.
Google has though filed a license for commercial drone use with the FAA, but only a week ago. According to Les Dorr from the FAA, there is a backlog of 1,500 license requests.
The video below shows the Wing drone in action.
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See also the Top 5 Drone Fails.