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Drones delivering pizza? Not such a far-fetched idea

Posted January 23, 2014
Aeryon Scout UAV in flight.
If someday soon it’s possible to have a hot pizza delivered to your door by a drone, it may be because of work now underway on the remote and sandy shores of the Texas Gulf Coast.

There, where the extra-salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico push their way onto the fertile fields of the historic Kenedy Ranch along Laguna Madre, a team of acclaimed scientists and engineers is carefully researching how to fly airplanes without pilots. They’re conducting their research on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration in this unpopulated area, mainly so no one gets hurt.

To be clear, they’re not there to expedite an order of pepperoni with extra cheese to your house. In fact, many of the researchers bristle at the suggestion that in just a few years the work they’re doing with unmanned aircraft could lead to drones buzzing among birds, treetops and tall buildings, making restaurant and retail deliveries in major metro areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth, 500 miles to the north.

Instead, they say, the real benefit of unmanned aircraft will be in police work, firefighting and other public services – in which remote-control machines can gather intelligence without putting humans at risk.

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