If NASA’s plan on drone development comes true, one United States city will be full of unmanned drones doing deliveries and even transporting people. This is according to Jim Bridenstine, the NASA chief during his speech at the Commercial UAV Expo held in Los Angeles. He said that the agency is moving fast to design and deliver the product, possibly before 2028 though he commented that the project wouldn’t be a simple one to execute. He envisions that, by the time, at least one city will be capable of controlling unmanned drone systems for delivering cargo or people around the city thousands of times a day.
Drones have previously been used in jobs like gathering intelligence for the military, making movies and helping in rescue operations. The move will, however, require a lot of changes, especially in the safety and regulatory sector, as well as the technology used and its’ social acceptance. The US government is taking steps already to encourage the shift rather than sit and observe it happen. NASA’s project makes use of a ‘grand challenge’ program to provide incentives whose intention is to provide a launchpad for a greater future while improving the technology’s maturity.
NASA is not alone in this venture, however. Amazon Prime, for instance, already has a new design for its delivery drone. UPS also has plans to deliver medicinal supplies to private clients and hospitals. Other companies such as Uber Elevate, NFT and Kitty Hawk are teaming up with aerospace companies like Airbus and Bell to provide shuttle services for people.
The NASA administrator also recognized that there would be a lot of challenges on the way. Some of them include noise pollution and a landing place for the drones. As part of the solution to the problem of noise, he believes, would be to move from gas-powered drones to electric ones with the added advantage of handling heavier payloads. He also added that the majority of the drones would be fully electric or hybrid, hence cutting down costs while reducing carbon emissions and noise. Also, he painted the progress of the project as a point of economic success while maintaining national prestige, fitting well within President Trump’s vision of increasing the nation’s trade.
Bridenstine said that US aviation energy draws strength from past achievements. Hence it would be a good idea to spend on researching urban air mobility at NASA. He also spoke about NASA’s other ongoing missions, including the upcoming crewed missions to the moon and Mars within the next decade.
This post was originally published on Financial Sector