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Drones hit the ground flying

Jay Levinson gets a taste of things coming very soon

I t’s late in the evening, and you have an insatiable craving for pizza. Not just any pizza. There is a store 5 miles away that makes pizza with an extra thin dough and an exceptional sauce. It would be great with an imported beer sold in another store not exactly near the house. It is out of the question to drive around at this hour. What should you do? An answer is on the way. This month the Israel Innovation Authority in conjunction with other government agencies and private companies performed the third test in a projected two-year series of eight, looking for a safe, rapid, and ecologically friendly solution. Select an app on your phone, place your order, and ready, get set for delivery. There is only one catch. Don’t bother getting a tip ready. There will be no delivery. The pizza and beer will not be coming by car or motorcycle. I was part of a group who gathered near the beach in Tel Aviv. The leader of the demonstration ordered sushi from a store8km away and beer from another store in a different direction. Five minutes later the delivery vehicles could be seen, waiting to drop off their loads. These were nothing less than unmanned drones perched over 1 square metre lading pads, then landing one by one, always keeping safe distance from each other. The Israeli drone project is gaining momentum. The basic philosophy is simple. This is the wave of the future, led not by government mandate but by market competition. At first 5 companies were interested in joining the project. Now there are 16 officially registered. The government role is to set regulatory standards and license those who qualify, allowing the market to grow. Once it took “days” to authorise a drone flight. Now that has been shaved down to seconds. Don’t conjure up a thought that a drone will knock on your door or make a delivery on your porch. Maybe in years to come, but that is not in today’s plans. Safety demandsacalibrated approach. The first flights were over unpopulated fields near Hadera. Now “drone highways” have been approved in the Greater Tel Aviv area with no-fly zones such as security installations, schools, hospitals, and several densely populated areas. Software is continuously being tested to avoid obstacles such as incoming aircraft including helicopters and even birds. There are more challenges in the remaining 5 planned tests (and there well might be more). So far there have been no night flights, delivery in bad weather, or coping with the hills and mountains of the Jerusalem area. The drones, themselves, are undergoing development in terms of size, battery capability, and payload. A second part of the recent test held on a different Tel Aviv beachfront was the delivery by drone of ice cream. Who cares what the payload is? Think for a moment. The last thing you would want is melted ice cream “soup.” On a typically hot Tel Aviv afternoon the ice cream arrived in solidly frozen packages (and was finished by everyone). So, when are you going to receive the pizza and beer for which you were craving? I am afraid that you are going to have to wait, but maybe not as long as you thought. Eliran Oren, the CEO of FlyTech, a Jerusalem-based drone company that participates in the project, has encouraging words. He estimates that within five years home delivery by drone will enter the commercial market. Landing pads will be located near houses or even on roof tops. After all, it takes only a square metre for a drone to land (plus a small safety zone). Maybe the next test should be to see if the pizza arrives hot! Half chiding, but half serious, Oren (whose company stops working every day for Daf Yomi) suggested that drones could be used to deliver the DDaf!

(מתוך כתבה-של העיתון של הקהילה היהודית בלונדון) JT 54 TECHNOLOGY / PROPERTY 5782 מרחשון ד“י 20 OCTOBER 2021 ,_(file:///C:/Users/User/Desktop/JT%20Drone.pdf)

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