Remember when we thought Amazon drones would be filling the skies while delivering packages? Someone even made a fake video that showed dozens and dozens of drones flying out of a massive Amazon blimp.
Well, Amazon drones may one day dominate the skies, but for now, the first delivery drones you see will come from Google. In news that caught many by surprise, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given Google permission for its commercial delivery drones to take off.
This is the first time the FAA has approved the use of delivery drones outside of testing areas. Two cities in Virginia will be the first to get the service.
What FAA OK means
Google didn’t get the OK from the FAA as a drone delivery service. Instead, it was certified to operate as an airline.
“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our No. 1 priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential,” according to a statement from Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
The statement went on to say that Google’s drones “met the FAA’s rigorous safety requirements.”
What’s that in the sky?
So what exactly do these drones look like? First, they have 14 propellers and can fly vertically and sideways 400 feet above the ground. The drones also can reach speeds of up to 75 miles-per-hour. Not too shabby.
For consumers, here’s how it will work: Use an app to place orders and get anything from food, drinks, supplies and more. But, the product can’t weigh more than 3.3 pounds. Using a tether, the deliveries will be safely placed on the ground.
The first people in the U.S. who will get to use drone deliveries are the lucky residents of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia.