The government is putting drone delivery to the ultimate test next week.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put together a task force to test drones’ ability to fly safely, which will determine the operational guidelines for not only consumer drones, but also for major companies like Amazon and Walmart.
Whatever recommendations the task force releases will most likely be used when the FAA finalizes rules in the next year. Reuters reports that the regulations will be finalized by the end of 2016, beginning of 2017.
Precision Hawk — a company developing technology for drones to fly safely — will begin conducting the tests Monday in Butner, North Carolina, according to MIT review.
In October, the FAA announced the creation of the task force to draft recommendations for flight regulations and for a drone registration process. The task force is expected to share their recommendations on November 20.
The task force was purposely given a tight timetable because drones are expected to be a popular gift during the holiday season, with 70,000 new drones expected in households by the end of this year.
“In recent months, we’ve seen an increase in reports of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) coming too close to manned aircraft and airports,” said Michael Huerta, the administrator of the FAA in a meeting last week.
“Some have interfered with wildfire fighting in California, and one crashed into a stadium during a U.S. Open tennis match.”
Tech Insider reached out to the FAA for comment and will update with any response we receive.
Because of these incidents, the FAA wants to create a formal registration process for drones under 55 pounds. The tests performed by Precision Hawk will help inform the rules for registration.
“PrecisionHawk is working on many safety solutions, procedural and technological, that we believe can contribute to safer operations for commercial drones in the national airspace,” Ernest Earon, PrecisionHawk CTO and co-founder, wrote in a press release. “The creation of this task force further demonstrates the willingness of the FAA to move forward with industry leaders to promote rapid and safe integration.”
Tech Insider reached out to Precision Hawk for comment and will update the story when we hear back.
A draft of FAA’s drone regulations require that drones remain in the line of sight of the operator. Other draft proposals include yielding the right of way to other aircrafts and not flying over 100 miles per hour.
Drone operators may also have a minimum age limit of 17 and have to go through a round of testing every 24 months, according to the draft regulations.