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Amazon drones could become a reality in 2019

By Chris Dawson March 7, 2018 - 11:14 am

A local Reading company, Altitude Angel, could be the key to companies like Amazon to start widespread drone deliveries as early as 2019.

NATS, the UK’s air traffic services provider, and fast-growing UK-based drone traffic management solutions company Altitude Angel, have entered a strategic partnership that lays the foundation for a future whereby drones and manned aircraft could safely co-exist in the UK’s busy skies.

The two organisations have entered a long-term partnership to develop unmanned traffic management solutions that can be integrated and interact with conventional air traffic control. This shows a shift in industry understanding of the need for more collaboration between manned and unmanned air traffic management experts in order to increase situational awareness amongst all airspace users and their downstream service providers.

The partnership between NATS and Altitude Angel will drive the integration of drone flight and operational data with information and systems involved in managing manned aviation. Merging the two information streams will increase situational awareness amongst all legitimate airspace users and provide the digital foundations necessary to allow air traffic controllers to engage with drone operators.

What this means for the likes of Amazon is that they’ll have to integrate Altitude Angel’s tracking technology into their drones. Whilst using a third party tracking solution might not be Amazon’s preferred route it’s not unreasonable for them to integrate with NATS chosen technology.

  • Elisha
    4 months ago

    Until people are killed when a drone falls to the ground.
    There goes the silence.
    More tech to provide more useless crap…..

  • 4 months ago

    Mass delivery by drones will not come, battery technology will kill this as any decent weight parcel will consume a lot of power from the drone, max probably two deliveries from one drone over a given range. Right now, drones cannot legally operate out of sight of the operator, end of its the law! There is no chance of drone operating near sensitive areas; airports / over peoples heads; they need to have a safe route in and out; where failure would not result in damage!

    The latest FBA in Manchester is less than 1/4 mile from the runway of the airport.. great for bringing stock in from Hong Kong.. but you are not going to get a drone in the air anywhere near an airport.. a service called geofencing is already in place.. a drone will be disabled and land if it approaches this area..

    Imagine if some clever far eastern type made a home geofencing unit, one that would not allow drones near your house.. !! May sell like hot cakes so you can keep them away…

    The major thing to watch here is big brother, governments (UK) are not hampering this as the drones of Amazon will be video equipped (already confirmed) and images captured will be used for all sorts..

    Its more data, this can be used for whatever and is the asset of the owner, great way for councils to reassess council tax, see who has built a bedroom in their shed!

    Google images is already taking photos on every street, this will have them in greater detail than satellite images!

    Its never just been about parcel delivery.. Amazons next market place is Chemists.. delivery tablets/medicines etc..
    Every seen how many chemists are around your local GP’s?

    Watch that space!

    • james
      4 months ago

      paranoid much?

      battery power – commercial drones can run for 45mins – 1 hour fully loaded, at speeds of around 60 mph currently, that will improve.
      so as it stands they can theoretically cover 30 miles from a drone hub on one charge, thats more than enough to adequately cover a city from a central location.
      -replaceable batteries can eliminate downtime for charging.

      they’re not intending to deliver range cookers by drone, small, light parcels are the aim of the game for now.

      FBA warehouses are not necessarily the drone hubs, much like the Argos store is not the same as the Argos fulfilment hub, they live in different places as the needs require.
      it doesnt make any sense to put an Argos store in a field in the middle of nowhere, that’s where they keep their fulfilment hub.
      it doesnt make sense to build a fulfilment hub in a city centre, that’s where they build their retail stores.
      amazon shall apply similar common sense to their location sourcing.

      the drones will be flying at an altitude much, much lower than the planes, so unless they’re in a landing path, or over the airport, it’s not an issue.

      geofencing works by GPS, you can’t build a geofence at home, without hacking into some high level systems and going to jail for it. any more than you can reroute the local motorway.

      right now drones cannot leave the operators view. right now.
      they laws were made how long ago? they’re not written in stone, they were written with every intention of changing if and when the technology does. autonomous drones were not legislated for because they weren’t expected for a while, laws cover the technology that exists at the time.

      why are you worried about a small drone over your head, but perfectly happy with a dozen 70 ton superjumbos up there? does that not seem a bit contrary to you?
      if they were dropping out the sky like flies you’d have a point, but they’re not.
      compare the amount of vans taken off the road, when we know motor vehicles kill people EVERY SINGLE DAY. compared to maybe one theoretical drone a decade?
      if you’re paranoid and anti-technology in general, sure that’s a bad trade, for any reasonable person, that would be a great exchange.

  • 4 months ago

    and there was me wondering if Amazon could drop a new SMEG fridge freezer and NEFF hob off via Prime drone… meanwhile back on the jumbo jet that weighs 70 tonnes.. doh

  • Vinnie
    4 months ago

    For the military, drones are being developed that fly in a swarm. They communicate with each other, they can work out the best route to deliver payloads to multiple targets, and they will be able to design in flight their own attack strategies depending on what is encountered when they get there. Such is the development of AI.
    All this is not that far removed from delivery drones. It will come. Laws will be changed to accomodate new technologies. In fifteen to twenty years it will be an everyday occurance for households to have drone deliveries and we wont think anything of it. I cant see what all the fuss is about. It will come and there isnt a thing we can do about it.