Google wants to deliver packages to customers by drones starting in 2017.
David Vos, who leads the company’s Project Wing, shared the target date on Monday at a conference for air traffic controllers.
“Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” he said, according to Reuters, which first reported Vos's comments on Monday.
“The ATCA annual conference is a gathering of air traffic controllers and organizations who are interested in airspace management,” a Google representative said in an email.
“Dave Vos was a keynote speaker, and in response to an audience question, he said we hope we could be operating a delivery service with our Wing vehicles by 2017."
Google announced over a year ago that it was testing drone deliveries in Australia after years of development work on the project. Other companies, including Amazon and Wal-Mart, have also been experimenting with delivering products directly to consumers through drones.
Regulators are mulling ways to deal with the significant growth in unmanned craft taking to the skies in recent years — including those owned by hobbyists. Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was going to require drone owners to register their aircraft.
Amazon has laid out its own plan for regulating drone traffic, which would dedicate a swath of airspace to drones with advanced navigation systems.
Policymakers are particularly concerned about the ways drones could endanger other aircraft. Officials battling wildfires, for example, have said that on multiple occasions this year a hobbyist’s drone prevented them from dousing the fires from the air.
"The signal we’re sending today is that when you’re in the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter," Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBusiness, labor groups teaming in high-speed rail push Hillicon Valley: Uber, Lyft agree to take California labor win nationwide | Zoom to implement new security program along with FTC | Virgin Hyperloop completes first test ride with passengers Uber, Lyft eager to take California labor win nationwide MORE said when the plan for a registry was announced.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is currently working to develop privacy guidelines for the users of unmanned aerial vehicles.