Amazon and NASA Are Working on Drone Air Traffic Control Systems

May 8, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Two giants in their own fields are joining forces to develop a newly forming space. Amazon and NASA have both established outposts in France to develop air traffic control systems specifically for drones.

NASA has already been spearheading efforts to create a drone air-traffic-control system (ATC), similar to the FAA’s ATC system — signing agreements with Amazon and Google to develop technology to facilitate this new system. Drones have had a history of run-ins not only with each other but also with commercial aircraft that have proved for some hairy encounters. As more drones take to the skies, it will be important to have a system that helps them avoid collisions.

Both Amazon and NASA have teams in France working on software for systems to manage drones in the air.  NASA has set up in Toulouse, home to Airbus headquarters, and is working with drone maker Delair-Tech.

“Coordinating traffic between drones, as well as with planes, it’s the end-goal that’s mobilizing a lot of people across the industry,” Michael de Lagarde, CEO of Delair-Tech told Bloomberg. “Today, we’re collectively at level zero of traffic management, we just segment the air space.”

France was one of the first countries to regulate commercial drone use and its laws are less burdensome than the US’ when it comes to regulating unmanned aerial vehicles. That allows Delair-Tech, and NASA and Amazon, to test long distance flights and its air-traffic control system.

Amazon has established a lab in Paris to test its own air-traffic-control system that will eventually control the drones that deliver goods from its warehouses to customers. The software includes highly detailed maps that include temporary objects that could prove as obstacles — like construction cranes, weather and birds.

Amazon already has multiple Prime Air drones, although they are still being tested and not in widespread use. It’s possible limited package delivery via drone will begin this summer

H/T: Bloomberg

Featured image by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.