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Long-distance drone delivery record set in US

A fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has flown over 150 kilometres in Texas to deliver a package, setting a record for long-distance drone delivery.
Nevada UAS Consortium – Team Roadrunner – arranged the flight on 5 May 2017. Launched from a central Texas urban location, the UAV followed a pre-planned route autonomously, though it was supported by visual observers located across the flight route equipped with enhanced radios and cell phone communications, enabling the UAV to be flown using a cellular communications link until it successfully landed and delivered its package in Austin, Texas.
Team Roadrunner consisted of the Nevada UAS Test Site (Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems), Volans-i UAS, Latitude UAS, AUV Flight Services, and the ground and mobile visual observer support from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Worldwide campuses.
“This was the most challenging, logistically-intensive, and longest package delivery demonstration recorded to date using cellular technology in the NAS, and allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate innovative capability – a demonstration necessity for the UAS industry,” said Dr Chris Walach, Director of the Nevada UAS Test Site and Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide.
“Drone package delivery in an urban and remote environment is the wave of the future, and Nevada is leading and helping to grow this major commercial endeavour,” he added. “These package delivery milestones prove that new UAS technology enables the safe integration of UAS into the NAS for long-distance and urban package deliveries.”

HQ-40 UAS on final approach for its 97-mile delivery, via Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.
HQ-40 UAS on final approach for its 97-mile delivery, via Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems.

Steve Hill, Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, added, “Creating a safe and thriving drone industry is an incredible challenge, especially when you couple that with drone package delivery. The record-breaking success of Team Roadrunner’s aerial package delivery mission proves that diligent testing in complex conditions will lead to drone delivery becoming reality.”

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