Did you know that roughly 86% of the orders made in the U.S. to global online vendor Amazon.com could be delivered via a helicam or drone? According to the latest news from FileHippo about Amazon's request for special permission to use drone technologies, the weight of most orders would qualify them for quadcopter delivery.
This is existing technology that would cut down on emissions, packaging, and even costs, plus it would come with the benefit of thirty-minute delivery times. Naturally, many are interested in knowing just what it would take to make this helicam option a reality, and that's an interesting story that is currently unfolding.
Understanding the Challenges of Drone Deliveries
Photographers, land surveyors, fire and rescue agencies, private detectives, and a long list of other industries have already recognized the profound benefits in the use of flying camera gear. Easy to control, packed with a lot of functions and technologies, drone devices can provide almost instant solutions to common problems.
As the simplest example, ranchers in many parts of the U.S. have been putting flying camera equipment to use for a while in order to quickly find lost livestock or to determine what sorts of threats are harming animals. However, many flying camera experts also enjoy the use of their multi-rotor devices and their helicam equipment in order to make remarkable photographs or films.
The one "glitch" in the use of helicam equipment is that the FAA is struggling to determine just how to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft. This is where the whole Amazon.com issue enters the equation and puts a new twist in the helicam story.
By sending letters to the FAA requesting permission to begin using drone and quadcopter devices for rapid-fire deliveries, the company is also paving the way for other industries, too. They have asked for "expedited operational authorization to develop and research civil unmanned aircraft under the FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012" (Lee, 2014)
What does that mean? Essentially, it means that Amazon has already designed and tested several generations of drone and multi-rotor devices, but only within an indoor space. To begin running tests on the units outdoors, they need special approval.
This approval would allow the company to begin flying their drone and helicam aircraft on test runs in pre-approved locations. Since the company has insisted that the program is nearly ready to go (it is on its ninth generation of drones designed for 30-minute deliveries), it could be a matter of only months before they could be prepared to launch the service.
Is Amazon the only firm that would benefit from approval to perfect drone and multi-rotor craft for commercial use? Not at all. In other parts of the world there are already clever business owners looking for ways to put helicam devices to work. From fast food deliveries in Asian cities to the use of quadcopter and helicam systems documenting criminal activities, there is an obvious benefit to the development and use of drone gear.
Some countries have already approved of the commercial use of this tech, such as the popular DJI Phantom helicam devices. In Vancouver, Canada, as an example, Heli Video Pros is a firm that sells the technology and offers high quality helicam services. Their success demonstrates that there is a definite need for widespread use and access to drone and helicam devices.
Once the FAA decides on the special request from Amazon.com, it is easy to see that many other groups will begin using the opportunity to perfect their flying camera systems and putting them to use for lightning fast deliveries and so much more.
Lee, Scott. Amazon Requests Permission from FAA for Drone Program. FileHippo.com. 2014. http://news.filehippo.com/2014/07/amazon-requests-permission-faa-drone-program/