Congress takes next step toward drone delivery

September 25, 2018 - The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives released what is likely the final version of a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill that would pave the way for drone-based delivery.

Both houses must still formally approve the bipartisan bill, with the earliest possible vote on Wednesday. If it passes, the FAA would have one year to draft regulations governing unmanned aerial deliveries.

In addition to mandating regulation to enable the use of drones to deliver consumer goods, the text also includes authorization for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice “identify, seize or destroy errant drones.”

Drone delivery for everything from medical supplies to consumer goods is discussed as all but inevitable in the supply chain industry, but the necessary regulations to legalize the technology still does not exist. 

This legislation is the next step in that process.

The FAA has completed four successful test-runs integrating drones into commerce. The aerial vehicles have so far delivered a Popsicle and healthcare supplies, provided bait to capture feral hogs, and performed agricultural work. Six more pilots are yet to come in the next two years for a variety of use cases.

Source: Supply Chain Dive