The Federal Aviation Administration approved the first commercial-grade drone for flight over land today, thus beginning the eventual reality where drones are about as common as helicopters and delivery trucks.
The first commercially approved drone, the Puma AE, comes from energy company BP through a partnership with drone manufacturer AeroVironment. The drone, which is five feet long and has a nine-foot wingspan, made its inaugural flight to Alaska this past Sunday.
The drone’s purpose is to oversee BP’s oil pipeline to ensure there are no leaks or other complications, but it will also eventually do things like 3D-mapping, monitoring the environment’s wildlife, and more.
Sadly, the move doesn’t necessarily mean the FAA will be approving other commercial drones anytime soon. (This one got a special approval.)
The federal organization has yet to determine a plan of action that allows for drones to share the same airspace as other flying vehicles. That means we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we’ll see those Amazon delivery drones dropping off packages to our door steps.