Drone Express is testing drone delivery service in Springfield, Ohio
In Springfield, Drone Express is testing a unique kind of radar system that would allow the drone to fly beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) to deliver groceries to consumers.
The drone delivery company aims to use autonomously flying drones, something that is not allowed under the current Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rules, to deliver small packages to consumers. Drone Express says that this would reduce the number of delivery trucks and thus also the impact on the environment, reports WVXU.
Principal Engineer Beth Flippo is conducting the tests at the Springfield Beckley Airport.
“We wanted to go and try to fly with SkyVision (radar) and see what’s available, and the ecosystem that they have out there in Springfield is just phenomenal.”
The radar system that is used by Drone Express allows the unmanned aerial system (UAS) to detect and avoid other aircraft during flight. The drone operator monitors the drone flights from a specially designed RV control center.
Drone Express is one of the first commercial drone companies to start testing at Springfield. The state of Ohio is trying to lure more companies to test at the site.
Mitch Heaton who now works for Drone Express but used to be with the Dayton Development Coalition, says:
“We’ve been working on this in this state for probably about eight years now and just last year it was able to go live and here we are having people taking advantage of it.”
According to Flippo, Drone Express is not looking to compete with the likes of Amazon, but instead is trying to provide a solution for the brick-and-mortar stores so that they can compete with the e-commerce giant.
Currently, Drone Express is waiting for approval from the FAA to start flying their delivery drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight by the end of this year.
Mitch Heaton, left, and Beth Flippo at the Springfield Airport.
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Photo: Drone Express