The Wall Street Journal's Andy Pasztor reports on the regulatory progress being made to allow drones to deliver packages, a slow process that means widespread adoption probably won't happen in this decade.
While the Federal Aviation Administration has already issued requirements for commercial use of smaller drones, regulatory officials have only recently started to look at the crucial collision-avoidance systems for the unmaned aircrafts. Still, some hold out hope that regulations will be ironed out sooner rather than later.
“It’s not outside the realm of possibility that by the end of the decade, we could see more routine uses” of package-delivery drones, according to Paul McDuffee, co-chairman of the federal standards-setting panel and a high-ranking official with Boeing Co.’s drone-making unit, Insitu Inc.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com, Google parent Alphabet Inc., United Parcel Service Inc. and other companies are prodding regulators—and some are lobbying extensively on Capitol Hill—to speed up regulatory action opening up the skies for delivery drones. Their arguments focus partly on the prospects of deploying proprietary technology, and partly on the concept of following set routes or potentially segregating drones in airspace that could be off-limits for most manned aircraft. Some experts see potentially faster approvals by piggybacking on existing rules.