Millions of drones buzzing through the air, delivering the groceries you need to make your dinner, the medicine you forgot to pick up from the pharmacy or even a hot cup of coffee.
To some, it’s the inevitable, efficient future. To others, it might sound more like the beginnings of a dystopian horror story.
Either way, it’s now closer to reality. The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that Wing, the drone-delivery unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had received the agency’s first approval to use drones to carry and deliver packages commercially.
Wing had previously been testing its drones in a suburb of Canberra, Australia, where the machines had made more than 3,000 deliveries, in part to demonstrate the drones’ safety and gain the F.A.A.’s approval, the company said.
There will be restrictions on its American effort. The drone deliveries will be limited to parts of southwest Virginia, where Wing is already part of an F.A.A. pilot program looking at how to integrate drones with society. The exact locations are still being determined.
The drones can be operated only during the day, when the weather is clear enough that they can be seen, said Greg Martin, an F.A.A. spokesman. Read more