Amazon is proposing that a slice of airspace above the world's cities and suburbs should be set aside for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference.
The retail giant has taken the next step in its ambition to deliver packages via drone within 30 minutes by setting out in greater detail than ever before its vision for the future of robotic flight. It envisages that within the next 10 years hundreds of thousands of small drones will be tearing across the skies every day largely under their own automated control.
The company’s aeronautics experts propose that a 200ft slab of air – located between 200ft and 400ft from the ground – should be segregated and reserved for state-of-the-art drones equipped with sophisticated communications and sensing equipment and flying at speeds of 60 knots or more.
A further 100ft of airspace – between 400ft and 500ft – would be declared a no-fly zone to act as a buffer between the drones and conventional aircraft, thus mitigating fears about the impact on manned flight or dangers posed to people on the ground.
Amazon's plan, unveiled on Tuesday at a Nasa UTM Convention in California, sets out a model for the unleashing of robots above cities and towns across the globe. At the heart of the proposal is the idea that access to the new 200ft slice of airspace would be granted only to those drones equipped with technology that allowed them to fly safely and autonomously. –(Guardian service)