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Delivery drones from Amazon and UPS could share airspace upon FAA approval

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Amazon expressed plans this week to offer drone delivery service that could drop packages to customers within 30 minutes. Experienced logistics planners and the world’s largest shipping service, UPS is also doing a little drone testing of its own, according to new reports.

According to The Verge Tuesday (Dec.3), sources spilled the tea on UPS and said that the parcel company is testing out their own fleet of drones to use for deliveries. "The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it. UPS invests more in technology than any other company in the delivery business, and we’re always planning for the future," a UPS spokesman said Tuesday.

Since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discussed delivery drone plans for the future of e-commerce logistics, some speculate if it was all just a well timed publicity stunt. Bezos revealed the news Sunday, just in time for Amazon.com’s Cyber Monday deals.

Publicity stunt or not, the online retail giant released a video demonstrating how its Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service would work. The concept is there, but is it realistic? With other companies such as Google and UPS developing their own delivery drones, regulatory compliance is a must.

Should drone delivery service technology pass Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval, public safety of the proposed delivery drones will be taken into consideration. Strict rules and advanced technology would have to be set in place to keep the drones from crashing into objects including other drones, aircraft, buildings and civilians.

Loss and theft are also inevitable issues to consider when planning to change logistic models with the use of unmanned flying objects to transport parcel. As USA Today reports, approximately 7,500 drones could take to the sky within the next five years, once regulations are set.

"The FAA is committed to safe, efficient and timely integration of unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace. Over the next several years the FAA will establish regulations and standards for the safe integration of remote piloted (unmanned aircraft) to meet increased demand," the FAA said Monday.

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