Drone-makers cheer Google delivery tests

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A group promoting the use of drones on Friday applauded Google after the tech giant announced plans to use unmanned vehicles to make deliveries if federal regulators approve.

The Arlington, Va.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) said in a statement that Google’s announcement “further demonstrates the potential of [drone] technology.”

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Google is planning to use drones to keep pace with companies like Amazon, which has already demonstrated how it would use the technology, The Associated Press reports

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently testing the impact of increased drone use on commercial flights. Google’s move will raise pressure on the FAA to quickly approve the new technology.

“It also highlights how this technology will revolutionize industries and the importance of the FAA keeping the integration process on track,” AUVSI said.

“Whether it is helping farmers survey their fields, search for lost hikers, filming Hollywood movies or performing scientific research over hurricanes, UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] are capable of saving time, saving money and most importantly, saving lives.” 

The drone advocacy group added, “in addition to these applications, the wider use of UAS will have a huge economic impact in the U.S. for both the public and commercial sectors.”

“AUVSI's economic study has found that the UAS industry will have an $82 billion economic impact and create more than 100,000 jobs in the first decade after integration," the group said. 

The FAA is being pushed to rule quickly in favor of more drone use with online companies including Amazon and now Google saying the technology could be used to speed up delivery times.

Police and other law enforcement groups are also seeking approval to use the technology.

The agency has been testing the interaction between drones and other types of commercial and private airplanes at six sites across the country at the direction of Congress, which has demanded the FAA issue a ruling on the feasibility of greater drone use by next year. 

Despite the pressure that is being applied to the FAA to approve increased drone use, the technology has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, who have raised concerns about increased surveillance.