Amazon proposes drone-designated airspace for commercial deliveries

Joe Hall
Follow Joe
An Amazon Prime Air drone in action (Source: YouTube)

Amazon wants a designated airspace zone for drone deliveries, the company told a Nasa convention in California yesterday.

Read more: Five reasons delivery drones won't take off

Under the company's plans, a slice of the sky between 200ft and 400ft would be designated for whirring drones zipping past each other to deliver parcels.

In order to avoid drone pile-ups, Amazon proposes a computer automated air traffic control system to govern the safe passage of the drones using GPS trackers, sensor based "sense and avoid" technology and online route planning.

Gur Kimchi, vice president and co-founder of Amazon's drone delivery project Prime Air said:

The way we guarantee the greatest safety is by requiring that as the level of complexity of the airspace increases, so does the level of sophistication of the vehicle.

Under our proposal everybody has to be collaborative - vehicles must be able to talk to each other and avoid each other as the airspace gets denser at low altitudes.

Under the proposal,s zero to 200 feet above ground would be reserved for commercial and recreational drones, while 400 to 500 feet would be kept free in order to prevent drones from interfering with plane routes.

Along with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Google and DHL, Amazon has experimented with drone technology through Prime Air.

Amazon believes drone technology could allow it to make deliveries in a guaranteed 30-minutes or less, but will first face regulatory obstacles to launching the service.

This year the company moved its drone testing to Canada after complaining of excessive red tape in the US.

Here's one of Amazon's zippy delivery drones in action:

Related articles