Congressional Hearing Delves into Drone Delivery

Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, held a hearing to discuss how businesses are adopting the latest trends in technology to transform the delivery process for consumers. This included discussions on the future of deliveries via unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The witnesses provided testimony about how their businesses are leveraging technology to provide same-day delivery services to consumers, according to a press release from the committee.

To begin the hearing, Latta discussed how emerging technologies and cutting-edge innovation are disrupting the delivery service industry as we know it.

“In today’s digital, on-demand economy, consumers have come to expect flexibility and quick delivery. In fact, a 2016 survey indicates that same-day delivery is a priority for consumers and that consumers want to have options for where their deliveries go – whether that be their office or some other personalized pickup point,” he said.

Offering a perspective on the benefits of delivery and transportation systems was Brian Wynne, president and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

He said, “From inspecting pipelines to newsgathering to mapping flood zones, UAS help save time, save money and, most importantly, save lives. It is no wonder why thousands of businesses – small and large – have already embraced this technology and many more are considering integrating it into their future operations.”

With regard to drones’ role in delivery services, Wynne noted that many big-name companies such as UPS and Amazon are “already testing and discovering the possibilities of UAS” and have successfully “transform[ed] deliveries over water and on the ground.”

Providing testimony as to how drones are changing the delivery landscape was Shyam Chidamber, chief evangelist and senior advisor at drone delivery company Flirtey.

“Most people are no doubt familiar with the military applications of drone technology. But I am here to suggest to you that drones are a game-changing commercial and civilian technology – one we believe can save lives and enhance lifestyles,” Chidamber said.

He concluded, “This brings me to the larger point, that drones save lives, increase blue collar productivity, create new jobs, [and] enhance worker and community safety.”

More on the hearing, including full statements from the witnesses, can be found here.


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