Deliveries by drones took a step closer to being allowed in the US after a federal advisory panel agreed on a framework for allowing law enforcement to routinely track the small devices.
The committee’s report to the Federal Aviation Administration is a significant step towards widening drone flights to allow them over people, urban areas and over long distances. A system to track and identify drones is necessary before companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s X and Amazon.com Inc. can deliver packages via unmanned drones, or for utilities and railroads can broaden their use for inspections.
While the report laid out the rough specifications necessary for such tracking, various interest groups dissented over whether certain small drones would get waivers to fly without being identified.
Allowing any drones to fly unidentified creates a “potentially dangerous loophole,” a representative for the Air Line Pilots Association said in his comments. ALPA is the largest union representing pilots in North America.