Amazon is piloting air traffic control systems for drones. JENNA LAWSON/STAFF.

Amazon tests traffic management system for drones

Drone technology is becoming common, so common that Amazon is now testing an air traffic management system to prevent mid-air collisions.

The company is currently working on drone technology to be used in quick deliveries.

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The new traffic management system would allow drones to communicate regardless of who is operating them, according to a blog post on Amazon’s Day One website.

“We will always prioritize safety first within our system,” said Bob Roth, a director with Amazon Prime Air. “People both on the ground and in the air are the most important to protect. We’re building a traffic management system with this as our guiding principle.”

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The low-altitude traffic management project is currently working with regulators and others in the industry to test how different drones from different operators can fly together. Roth and his team have worked with NASA and Single European Sky ATM Research for the trials.

Air traffic is different than ground traffic, the blog says. In driving cars there are specific mapped out routes like roads that must be followed. No paths are already paved in the air. Automated technology would give air control experts like the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates airplane and jet traffic, the ability to track drones and ensure no fly zones in times of emergency.

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