U.S. gov gives Apple permission to use drones for Apple Maps

11 May, 2018, 01:53 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Apple drone

The state's innovation and entrepreneurship investment authority partnered with a wide range of organizations, including Virginia Tech, Alphabet's Project Wing, Intel, AT&T, Airbus, State Farm, Dominion Energy, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Hazon Solutions, a drone inspection company, to test using drones for delivering packages, emergency management, and infrastructure inspection.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, another victor, said Apple Inc is among its partners, and Apple said it plans to use the testing program to improve Apple Maps by capturing aerial images.

The US Department of Transportation and the FAA will use the collected data to help craft new rules that expand the use cases for low-altitude operations and accelerate the approval of operations that now require special authorizations.

The study will tackle the most significant challenges in integrating drones into the national airspace while reducing risks to public safety and security. A rigorous process was cited in conjunction with Amazon's rejection, but deputy transportation secretary Jeff Rosen said there were "no losers".

Under the program, the Federal Aviation Administration partners with state, local and tribal governments.

Apple will be using drones to capture images of North Carolina with the state's Department of Transportation.

A permit is needed to fly one, with beyond line-of-sight flights and night-time flying banned.

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FedEx, GE and Intel drones will inspect aircraft and runways at Memphis International Airport (coincidentally FedEx's USA operations hub). The applicants listed companies they would partner with in the experiments, and the winners may have a head start at the billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs the young industry expects to create.

"We're grateful to the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration for providing us with the opportunity to conduct our most advanced testing to date on USA soil", said James Ryan Burgess, co-lead of Project Wing, which will be testing in Virginia. Similarly it said that DJI, the world's biggest non-military drone maker, made about a dozen applications but had none approved.

Flirtey also began testing pizza delivery with Domino's Pizza in 2016.

The business uses of drones have really accelerated in the past year.

"By creating a regulatory sandbox, the USA will bring jobs and innovation back from overseas", he said. General Electric Co is also a partner, he said. Deliveries in the Memphis proposal involve only aircraft parts at the airport and the 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park in Memphis.

Earlier, the agency confirmed it had sent two planned rules to the White House to regulate the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The FAA has no requirements or voluntary standards for electrically broadcasting information to identify an unmanned aircraft. After both are formally proposed, it could take months before they are finalized.

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