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Amazon pushes for drone-only airspace above cities

by Jacob Kleinman | July 28, 2015July 28, 2015 7:00 pm PDT

Amazon hasn’t given up on its dream of delivering packages by drone, despite growing competition from other tech giants. Now a new proposal from the company reveals plans to carve out a slice of the sky for unmanned aircrafts.

The document suggests establishing a 200ft slice of airspace starting at an altitude of 200 feet that would be reserved for high-speed drones. This is where Amazon’s Prime Air drones would presumably carry out their speedy deliveries. The company also includes a 100ft buffer zone between drones and airplanes where nothing is allowed to fly.

Amazon introduced the idea during an aviation convention on Tuesday, where it explained that the proposed airspace would be reserved for a specific class of high-tech drones to avoid potential crashes.

“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,” said Gur Kimchi, an Amazon VP in charge of Prime Air. “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.”

Specifically, these drones would need to feature extremely precise GPS tracking, a strong connection to the Internet, onboard flight planning, sensors designed to help avoid other objects and the ability to communicate with other drones. Less advanced drones would only be able to fly in “rural areas” and other low-risk regions.

Amazon The Guardian

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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