Cleared for flake off! From ice creams to parcels, delivery by drone is on its way

Expert Michael Kheng on the idea of drone deliveries

Coming soon, carrying a '99, three DVDs and a bottle of perfume

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's like something out of a sci-fi movie. Order something from the comfort of your bedroom, or your deckchair on the beach, and before you know it a drone is hovering overhead with a delivery.

Well, the sci-fi could be about to become reality, following news that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted internet distributors Amazon permission to test its aerial vehicles and is considering relaxing existing rules that make it an offence for a drone to be flown without being in the line of sight of the operator. 

Simon Whalley, head of policy and public affairs at the Royal Aeronautical Society, told afternoon show presenter Bob Mills: "The CAA are looking at whether Amazon would be allowed to use their drones without keeping them in the line of sight, so it would all be done by sensors. 

"You have to work out how they’d be able to not collide with each other, otherwise you’re creating another motorway in the air.”

Amazon won't be the first to try out the devices in public. Last week in Nevada, USA, the company 7-Eleven used a drone to deliver a food order to a family in Reno, while earlier this month Lincolnshire ice cream parlour Rock & Ices trialled delivering lollies to beachgoers spread out along four miles of sand at Mablethorpe.

With drone deliveries becoming a real possibility, 'Drone Man' Michael Kheng - the director of Kurnia Aerial Photography who oversaw the Mablethorpe deliveries – told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "Everybody is looking at delivering things by drone.

"It's just the logistics on how it can be done safely, and respecting everybody else's privacy. 

"We've been trialling ice cream deliveries by drone on the east coast of Lincolnshire, but I'm not sure of how Amazon are planning on doing this. 

"The obvious question is, if a parcel gets delivered and you're not at home, is this parcel going to be left in the front garden, or the back garden for someone to come and steal it?"

Listen to the full interview above