Fylde expert warns of major issues over drone parcel delivery bid
Amazon's futuristic plans to deliver parcels by aerial drone will have major obstacles to over come says a Fylde coast drones expert.
The global online retailer is in talks with the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority over safety regulations about using drones to deliver to private addresses.
Paul Misener from Amazon said: “This announcement strengthens our partnership with the UK and brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers.”
But pilot Paul Wane who runs airXdrones on the Fylde said it would be too dangerous as things stand to deliver packages to the doorstep and the strict CAA regulations surrounding professional drone flights were a significant barrier.
He said: “Every drone pilot needs a CAA licence which are not easy to get. It’s a very involved process.
“There is no way under current legislation to drop packages at the door. You need permission and CAA clearance for any flight over homes.
“It might be possible to set up a series of rural hubs and fly the packages to those to allow people to pick them up and Amazon do already have a fantastic delivery network to base it on.
“It is possible to fly a drone using software along a series of programmed way points but I would be surprised if this plan was possible.”
He said the drones would also have to contend with the British weather. “We are not Arizona, the weather is going to be a big issue. Not many drones are currently waterproof, the military and police ones are, but they are expensive.”
He also said currently drones could not fly above 500 feet without getting clearance from the CAA so they do not interfere with aircraft flights.
Illegal drone flying can land the owner with a fine of up to £5,000 and it can cost up to £6,500 to become fully qualified to fly professionally.
Paul Misener added: “Using small drones for the delivery of parcels will improve customer experience, create new jobs in a rapidly-growing industry, and pioneer new sustainable delivery methods to meet future demand.”
The CAA’s policy director Tim Johnson said: “We want to enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology by safely integrating drones into the overall aviation system.
“These tests by Amazon will help inform our policy and future approach.”