What is drone delivery?
Why is the town government interested in this program?
Will the drones have cameras?
What safety measures are included on the drones?
How loud will the drones be?
What entities are partners in evaluating drone deliveries?
Drone delivery is the transportation of goods using unmanned aerial vehicles. Delivery drones fly automatically along predetermined routes to predetermined delivery locations. Packages are lowered from the drone and released on the ground.
Drones offer the potential to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, thus mitigating traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Drone delivery replaces a 2-ton vehicle driving on the road with an electric-powered 35-pound vehicle. This program provides the Federal Aviation Administration, N.C. Department of Transportation and Town of Holly Springs an opportunity to assess how drones might play a role in our innovative economy.
We understand people are concerned about privacy. The drones do not carry any cameras. They navigate using GPS (global positioning system) technology.
As an added safety measure, all Flytrex drones are equipped with redundant engines in the unlikely case of mechanical failure.
The industrial grade drones include multiple redundancies: six motors, six rotors, six batteries and three GPS devices for redundant communication. A preflight checklist assesses the weather and the drone equipment. Flytrex plans to maximize safety by not flying over large crowds of people, or over backyards, during initial stages. Each drone is fitted with a parachute system that cuts power to propellers and will emit loud beeping sounds if the system is needed.
Initially, all flight routes will be within line-of-sight of the remote pilot at the take-off location at Holly Springs Towne Center. The route to a delivery location at Ting Park does not allow drones to fly above houses. Drones fly over open spaces and woods, and over the NC 55 bypass, as approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The amount of time a drone is over the bypass during its route is limited to a couple of seconds.
The delivery location at Ting Park is across the park road from the tennis courts. A fence encloses the delivery location, which is monitored by a Flytrex employee.
The noise from these drones in flight is about as loud as a running dishwasher. When drones are landing, the noise is comparable to a car passing by from about 30 feet away.
Drones fly about 220 feet above ground and make deliveries from about 70 feet above ground, further reducing noise.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): responsible for the safe operation of the national air space and understands the benefits that drones pose. The goal of the pilot program is to analyze how to safely incorporate drones into the National Air Space over a three-year period. The FAA oversees the pilot program and selected the NCDOT (and Holly Springs) as a participant in the program. The FAA received over 150 applications for the program and selected 10 locations. The agency has final say in all operations occurring with the program and considers safety the most important part of the program.
- North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT): the team leader; interfaces directly with the FAA. NCDOT’s Division of Aviation operates an unmanned aerial vehicle team that works with and promotes the use of drones statewide. The NCDOT has oversight of commercial and government drone operations within the state.
- Flytrex: a technology company that has developed a system that allows drones to be used for package deliveries. The drones operate within the Flytrex navigational system that creates "roadways in the sky" where the drones are confined.
- Causey Aviation: in charge of the operations and "piloting" the drones. Causey Aviation is based out of North Carolina and has been in the aviation business for decades. Its personnel are familiar with the FAA's safety protocols and rigorous maintenance and operational procedures.
- Town of Holly Springs: host for the project and working with all of the partners above to ensure our residents are informed of the pilot project and have an opportunity to provide input to the partners.