US team pushes the boundaries of drone delivery
11 / 05 / 2017
A Nevada consortium claims to have set a record for the longest urban package delivery in the US. Team Roadrunner flew a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over 97 miles to Austin, Texas controlled by cellphone systems.
Launched from a central Texas location, the UAV flew a preplanned route through the National Airspace System using a combination of a mobile command and control (C2), a visual observer team, and stationary visual observers across the route. They used enhanced radios and cell phone communications to successfully land the vehicle at its destination.
Team Roadrunner consists of the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site (Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems), drone delivery firm Volans-i UAS, Latitude UAS, AUV Flight Services, and the ground and mobile visual observer support of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
UAS Test site director Dr Chris Walach described it as “the most challenging, logistically-intensive, and longest package delivery demonstration recorded to date using cellular technology in the NAS”, adding: "Drone package delivery in an urban and remote environment is the wave of the future."
Volans-i founder, Hannan Parvizian, commented: "This was an extremely complicated mission…Great emphasis was placed on flight safety, airworthiness, communication, command and control as well as air and ground coordination.”