FedEx Wants To Be Able To Use Drones To Transport Packages

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Megan Rose Dickey Via Business Insider

We’re About To Be Living In A Drone-Filled World

When we hear about drones, some of us tend to think about war, destruction, lost lives, and other horrible things.

But there are several other use cases for these unmanned aerial vehicles that have nothing to do with war.

Already, companies like FedEx are anxiously awaiting the day when it’s legal to fly drones in the air. The FAA will officially allow it starting in 2015, but the drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet above the ground and must be at least five miles away from any airport.

FedEx wants to be able to use drones to transport packages, rather than having to rely on passenger planes. That’s because passenger planes need to be pressurized, which is expensive, and they also can’t fly in formation, which is a much more efficient method.

While we are still a few years away from seeing commercial uses of drones, there’s a growing community of amateurs who build and fly their own drones. The drones typically have two-foot long wings and weigh about two pounds.

FEDEX DRONES radio freedom news

Chris Anderson, former editor in chief at Wired, and co-founder of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY DRONES, is helping lead the charge.

Anderson started DIY DRONES, a social network for people interested in aerial robotics, in 2007. Since launch, DIY DRONES has grown to a community of 33,000 active members who fly drones that they have either been made themselves, or purchased from companies like 3D Robotics.

In ten years, Anderson thinks it won’t be uncommon to see drones flying in the air.

Anderson is currently working on a “follow me box,” which is basically a phone-sized box you would wear on your belt to summon a droid and have it follow you around with a camera.

For example, if you’re a surfer who wants footage of yourself tearing up the waves, you would press a button on your “follow-me box” and the droid would fly out to you, position itself above you, and start shooting. Once the battery gets low, the droid would detect that and land itself on the beach.

The “follow-me box” is still in the works but people are already using drones to do things like find hikers and skiers in need of rescuing, take aerial imagery of homes and other properties, and survey archaeological sites in Africa.

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