Amateur UAVs, Commercial Drones for Peace

DIYDrones sez FedEx wants UAVsFound a link to Wired Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson’s DIYDrones.com site from an online Wired article, “Build It. Share It. Profit. Can Open Source Hardware Work?.”

UAV stands for “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” with applications listed at Wikipedia including “remote sensing; oil, gas and mineral exploration and production; transport; scientific research; armed attacks; and search and rescue.”

If the dollar loses its purchasing power, perhaps unmanned aerial vehicles will also deliver goods without the energy and labor costs of transporting a human pilot. Perhaps a robot will load your grocery order into a parcel delivery blimp or model aircraft, which will then travel to your location via GPS, internal map and a radio beacon to guide the craft to its destination at your place, even if you’re off-grid with no roads like in some third world village.

The economics will make UAVs dominant, whether there’s a bigger crash to come or not. Military drone maker Insitu quotes an Aviation Week item on its website:

“It’s official: Boeing’s Insitu subsidiary has outstripped Boeing Commercial Airplanes in delivery rates for air vehicles.”

The April, 2011 issue of Mechanical Engineering features “Drones For Peace” artwork on the cover. The feature article is entitled “Airborne, Autonomous & Collaborative.”

One can imagine the legal hurdles for the operator of such a robotic fleet. Certainly the FAA would be involved at this point. Details of the amateur legal requirements may be found at DIYDrones’ “Regulatory FAQ.”

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