While Amazon is moving its drone-testing activities to the U.K., Google’s parent company Alphabet is getting the green light to fly in the U.S. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced new steps it will be taking to promote the adoption of drones in the U.S. in a safe, innovative way.
As part of this initiative, Alphabet will start testing its drone delivery project known was Project Wing at one of the six Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS test sites. The tests will be for operational and experimental purposes, and the information collected from them will be used to make decisions about drone deliveries and beyond line of sight capabilities in the future.
“The company will also begin to develop and deploy an open-interface, airspace management solution for safe low-altitude small UAS (sUAS) operations using existing low-cost, scalable communication and information technologies,” the White House wrote in its fact sheet. “The work, which will focus on encouraging good citizenship in operation and collaboration between and across industry and government, will help ensure safe integration of sUAS in the layer of airspace under 400 feet.”
Other actions the OSTP will be taking include creating rules for operating drones over people; developing a UAS safety team; and supporting research on how to design, control and integrate drone apps to use cases like monitoring and inspection.
In addition, the OSTP is investing in drone traffic-management infrastructure, expanding drone testing, using drones to deliver critical medical supplies to communities in need, and expanding existing partnerships to promote safe operations and best practices.