In the not-so-distant future, America's evening skies could be filled with the buzzing sounds of delivery drones.
On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the use of delivery drones over populated areas at night. Many see the move as the next step to widespread adoption of drone deliveries.
“The new rules make way for the further integration of drones into our airspace by addressing safety and security concerns,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages.”
Delivery companies like UPS and Amazon have been investing in the technology for years. Both companies have seen surging profits during the coronavirus pandemic as more Americans turn to home delivery for many items, including groceries.
Alphabet’s Wing is also investing in drone technology.
The FAA said the new regulations provide “an essential building block toward safely allowing more complex” drone operations.
According to the new FAA rules, drones of more than a certain weight must have remote identification capabilities and be equipped with anti-collision lights. The FAA also said the drones cannot have any exposed rotating parts that could potentially injure a person.
In some cases, the drones can be operated above moving vehicles “depending on the level of risk.”
The new rules will become effective 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register next month.
Despite the new regulations, Bloomberg reports it will still be years before delivery drones are widely used.