Amazon or anyone else won’t be using drones to drop off boxes at your house anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of efforts afoot to demonstrate that the practice is possible. And, of course, when it comes to testing just about anything, someone wants to see just how far they can go with it—and, even more, do it better, longer, or faster than anyone else ever has.
That explains the record set last week by a team of unmanned aerial vehicle experts from the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, Volans-i UAS, Latitude UAS, AUV Flight Services, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The team flew a fixed-wing drone 97 miles over Texas to deliver a package. “Launched from a central Texas urban location, the UAV flew a preplanned route through the National Airspace System (NAS) using a combination of a mobile command and control (C2),” a release about the record reads, “a visual observer team, and stationary visual observers (VO) located across the flight route were equipped with enhanced radios and cell phone communications which allowed the UAV to be flown using a cellular communications link until it successfully landed and delivered its package in Austin, Texas.”