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FAA paves the way for the Alphabet unit to the first U.S. drone deliveries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc. Wing Aviation unit on Tuesday got the okay to start delivering goods by drone in Virginia later this year, making the sister unit of the search engine Google, the first company to get the AMERICAN airline certification, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

FILE PHOTO: U. S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao speaks to the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, USA, March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

This means the Wing can start with a commercial service for delivering goods from local businesses, houses, that is including flights beyond the visual line of the site and about the people, the FAA and the Wing said. Wing Aviation plans to commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia, later this year.

Wing together with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation nership, and Virginia Tech as one of the participants in the Ministry of transport, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.

“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones in our economy. Safety remains our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize the full potential,” said the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

The certification is good for two years, the FAA said. A pilot can work up to five drones at a time and only during the day. Drones cannot carry hazardous materials or move the mouse over the people, the FAA said.

The FAA said Wing demonstrated that its activities meet the safety agency requirements, based on comprehensive information and documentation, as well as thousands of safe flights that are carried out in Australia. Wing plans to reach out to the local community before the start of a food delivery process to gather feedback, the FAA said.

Wing is recently started with the commercial air delivery service in the north of Canberra, Australia, and is also to begin the first process in Europe, the supply of housing in Helsinki, Finland.

Wing said the data shows a lower risk for pedestrians of drone deliveries than the same trip made by car.

In May 2018, Chao announced approval for 10 projects, to help assess how drones regulate and integrate them safely into the U. S. air space. The United States kept the other countries in experiments with drones, something the program hopes to correct.

In January, the FAA proposed rules that allow drones to operate over populated areas and end of a requirement for special permits for use in the night. The FAA is also considering moving forward with additional rules in response to public safety and national security concerns as it works to integrate drones with aircraft traffic.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio and Meredith Mazzilli

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