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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Amazon to implement Prime Air service for packages

It may be a long time before drones deliver packages to residents of Bowling Green.

Amazon hopes to deliver packages with unmanned drones in the next few years with their service Prime Air.

Assistant professor of aviation Michael Courbat is skeptical of Amazon’s plan to make this service available in the near future.

“Basically a small, unmanned aerial vehicle really presents some real problems to the [Federal Aviation Administration],” he said.

Courbat said the FAA is currently working on regulations for unmanned vehicles, but it could take up to five years.

One of the biggest issues that needs to be solved is safety, Courbat said. UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] need to be able to recognize and avoid other aerial vehicles such as planes.

“How does a UAV recognize [a plane]? How does it see it and how does it avoid it?” he said.

Another reason the FAA is taking so long for the new regulations is because of the change for infrastructure.

Courbat said ground-based control will be switched for more accurate satellite-based equipment.

He also added that every UAV Amazon uses must be certified, as well as the pilots.

Although Amazon wants to use autonomous drones, Courbat said the FAA’s new regulations will not allow for that.

Paired with the problem of needing pilots for the drones, Courbat said the United States will be facing a pilot shortage in the near future, which may make it difficult for Amazon to get enough pilots.

While Courbat is skeptical of Amazon’s claims, he realizes drones are the future of aviation.

“It’s been said that maybe the last generation of fighter pilots who actually sit in an aircraft have been born,” he said. “We’re moving into an era of UAV activities. It’s a large part of the future of aviation, but it’s going to develop like the rest of aviation has.”

When Amazon is able to implement Prime Air, Courbat said the service coming to Bowling Green is dependent upon the economy of the area and if there is infrastructure to support it.

Students are skeptics of the idea as well.

Junior Stephanie Davis thinks it’s a bad idea because it could be too easy things get lost or stolen.

Junior Tyler Conn is excited about the idea and would use it if given the chance, but still has worries about some of its issues.

“I think it would be sweet, but I also think it would open up piracy,” Conn said.

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