Google, NASA developing air traffic control for drones

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(CNN) — Want your favorite beer delivered to your door? Google’s head of “Project Wing,” an initiative to deliver goods to customers by drones, says it’s possible in the next one to three years.

Google’s David Vos’ goal is simple.

“Moving people and stuff around the planet in an efficient way is where I want to get,” Vos said in Washington Monday.

Google is currently working with NASA to create an air traffic control system that would allow for the safe operation of drones in the United States airspace. Vos says there is room for commercial drones in the already busy airspace.

“There’s enough space that’s completely unoccupied,” he said.

The Google executive said the company does not want drones to be a disturbance and maintains they can be operated so quietly people below “won’t even notice.”

As for the safety concern for opening up the skies to commercial drones. Google says it is developing the technology to be even safer than general aviation.

Vos, whose vision of the future looks like an episode of the Jetsons, has other plans beyond delivery drones. He says there will eventually be autonomous airplanes flying passengers from Point A to Point B.

But Vos’ ambitious one to three year time line for Google Drone deliveries is dependent on the tech industry working with a key regulatory agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, to make it happen.

The FAA, which regulates U.S. airspace including drones, is expected to finalize rules for commercial drones sometime this year. An early draft of the rules only allows for drones to be flown within the user’s line of sight, which would be extremely restrictive for companies looking to make deliveries by drone.

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