Drones Drive Jokesters — But They’re Coming


A French newspaper celebrated April Fool’s Day with a story about a plan to deliver its papers by drone, and the idea was also adopted by The Daily Sentinel, in Colorado. The story was picked up and repeated across the blogosphere, but late in the day on Monday, NBC News confirmed that the post was a prank. “The tiny drones don’t seem to have room to carry more than just one newspaper,” wrote Nidhi Subbaraman, of NBC. “How efficient could that possibly be, using a flying lawn mower to deliver one newspaper at a time?” But the story is not too far from the truth — in the real news on Monday, the FAA invited the public to comment on its now-in-development UAV policy, as the agency prepares to choose six test sites for UAV integration later this year.

The FAA is moving ahead to find ways to integrate UAVs into the National Airspace System while maintaining safety, but the online public engagement session scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, from noon to 2 p.m. Eastern Time, will focus not on safety but on the agency’s proposed privacy policy. The FAA will provide a brief overview of the UAS test-site program and proposed privacy policy and then take comments from participants. Each participant will have three minutes for comments. The FAA encourages the public to provide comments to the docket. The FAA will listen and record all comments, but will not answer any questions during the session. Details on how to register and participate, and information on the proposed UAS test-site privacy policy, is available online.