People living in a peaceful neighborhood near 59th Avenue and Bell Road in Glendale, AZ, were in for a rude awakening when Walmart began testing its large delivery drones in the area. The residents have reported hearing something that sounded like a helicopter flying directly above their houses.
Mike Baxter, who has lived in the neighborhood for the past five years, commented that the sound was similar to that of a hornet's nest that had been disturbed. The drones, which have a diameter of several feet, are able to deliver packages weighing up to ten pounds in thirty minutes or less.
“I am not against drones, but do it somewhere else. It's not a necessary service here,” Baxter said. Baxter says he moved here for privacy and quiet. Now, he says both of those things are being violated.
According to Autumn Johnson, another resident of the neighborhood, the noise is disturbing, but what's more worrisome is the absence of regulations and laws regarding delivery drones in residential areas.
“I really think before this comes, sort of a pervasive technology, that there need to be parameters in place to protect those kinds of concerns,” Johnson said.
Walmart releases statement about its delivery drones
“We care deeply about the communities we serve and are always appreciative to hear feedback. Customer safety and privacy is a top priority and we'll continue to work with community members to ensure our delivery methods are consistent with their needs and desires.”Walmart
Their partner in drone operations, DroneUp, also sent in the following statement:
Ensuring the privacy and safety of communities, while providing the benefits of drones is our top priority. We've taken a thoughtful and effective approach to addressing each one of these aspects.
- Flying safely and legally is the cornerstone of every flight. We work closely with the FAA to make sure we are following every rule and regulation. And with that, we are well regarded in the industry for our safe operations. We do operations briefings with all local FAA entities when we begin to serve a new community.
- We use highly advanced systems with multiple redundancies to ensure safe operations. These systems do not take any visual recordings to also ensure privacy but enhance safety.
- Each and every pilot is thoroughly trained at our dedicated facility in Virginia and is FAA certified.
- Our autonomous software populates flight routes that avoid areas with a heavy population density, busy roads, and sidewalks whenever possible with our operator's oversight to ensure the best routing is chosen.
- When it comes to sound, the drone flies at an altitude of 180 to 300 feet to its destination and at that altitude, the decibel level is barely noticeable. When it gets to the delivery location, it comes to around 80 feet to lower the package safely down, not coming close to the ground. At 80 feet, the sound decibel level is lower than a local delivery truck.
We understand that this is new technology and we are working hard to address all aspects of this proactively but know that Drone Technology offers a huge array of benefits to everyone. We are committed to working with each and every community in which we operate to help people understand not only the value these drones provide, but to answer any and all questions that people have about this innovative technology.DroneUp
Residents are also worried about safety concerns. If one of the delivery drones were to fail, it could hurt someone or damage property.
In June last year, Walmart expanded its drone delivery service to 34 locations in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. This affects a total of 4 million potential homes. Customers may choose drone delivery as a delivery method between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Customers are charged $4 each package. A total of ten pounds of items may be delivered. A winch is used to put packages in the garden or on the driveway.
In the past, Wing has reached similar noise pollution complaints from residents in Australia, where the company is testing with delivery drones.
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