Retail Chain Kroger Gets FAA Drone Exemption

The Kroger Co., one of the world’s largest retailers, has received a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to commercially operate the DJI Inspire 1 for capturing aerial footage.

According to the petition for exemption, the company’s internal media group, Kroger Television, will operate the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at or below 200 feet in altitude “for purposes of aerial filming and photography of its facilities and hosted events.”

Kroger employs nearly 400,000 associates in 2,623 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The company also operates 781 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,350 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.

Kroger writes in the petition that it also “seeks to benefit the public by using this platform to provide more in-depth training and communications to its associates regarding their facilities – resulting in safer work environments and a better customer experience.”

Using UAS rather than its current “fixed-wing and rotary conventional aircraft,” the company says, “will greatly benefit the public by drastically reducing the levels of air and noise pollution generated during traditional aerial survey flight operations.”

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