Welcome to your weekly UAS news update. We have four stories for you this week. Amazon has begun shipping medical deliveries with drones, which is interesting. Aloft won an Innovation Challenge, and a company equips drones with AI to combat wildfires, which is commendable. Lastly, we have a Pilot Institute update. Let's dive in.
Amazon Medical Deliveries
First up this week is Amazon, which has announced that it will be delivering medicines in College Station, Texas, which is where one of its testing sites is. This is under their drone delivery initiative called “Prime Air.” Prime Air aims to transport medicine to homes within 60 minutes of ordering, covering over 500 medications for conditions like the flu, asthma, and pneumonia. Amazon hopes to achieve same-day delivery for over 500 million packages a year. Interestingly, recent layoffs had suggested their drone program was on the decline, so it remains to be seen if this is a turnaround or a last-ditch effort to save the program. It's notable that they've realized the potential of drone delivery for urgent necessities. I've always believed that delivering trivial items isn't the best use of this technology, so it's reassuring to see Amazon focusing on significant deliveries.
Aloft Wins Innovation Challenge
Next is Aloft, which won the Genius New York challenge for innovation. The win means Aloft will receive $500,000, which they plan to use to expand their team in New York.
Josh Ziring stated, “Securing this win at Genius New York is not just a testament to the innovation and hard work of the Aloft team but also underlines the promise and potential of our growing partnerships in the state of New York.”
If you're unfamiliar with Aloft, they are the country's largest LAANC provider and our top recommended LAANC app. They offer fleet management, flight tracking, flight planning, incident tracking, and LAANC. For a comprehensive understanding of Aloft, we have a free deep dive that showcases their app's capabilities.
Drone Equipped With AI to Fight Fires
Our third story features Data Blanket, a company aiming to use AI to combat woodland fires. Founded last year, their objective is to employ drones to ascertain where resources should be best allocated to combat fires effectively. Data Blanket uses a drone manufactured by Ascent Aero called “Spirit,” capable of flying in extreme conditions.
Data Blanket has equipped the Spirit with AI, a custom payload, and swarming technology to map fires and execute Search and Rescue missions. They plan to commence pilot programs between late 2024 and early 2025, contingent upon Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Pilot Institute Updates
Our final story revolves around us. We recently celebrated 80,000 subscribers on this channel and the same number of people in our Part 107 course. With 169,000 trust certificates and 27,000 free stickers shipped (now with Remote ID labels), we are ever grateful for your support.
We regret missing our live event this week, as emergencies had us preoccupied. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and will ensure reminders for our next session. Have a fantastic weekend, and we'll see you next week.
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