Amazon Among Many with Big Plans for Drones

December 13, 2013, 9:09 am

By: Chris Downey, Product Manager

In a 60 Minutes story on CBS on December 2nd, Jeff Bezos of Amazon demonstrated a new package delivery system they are researching using automated drones to deliver packages to consumers. Drones, or Unmanned Aerial  Vehicles (UAVs), offer tremendous potential for a number of markets from civil authorities, farming, forestry services and retail. These drones build on an abundance of information about creating stable aircraft (often quadracopter type vehicles) and for automatically guiding these drones along a pre-planned route and using GPS receiver to maintain their course. Unfortunately, for now all these applications need to remain grounded as the FAA in the United States requires that remote control aircraft stay under the control and within sight of the operator at all times. In other countries, or for specific exempt applications though, the possibilities are starting to open up.

Communicating with aircraft once they’ve moved beyond the traditional visual range can be challenging though. Cellular modems are one option, but they are often costly and incur more lag than operators are normally accustomed to. At Laird, we’ve worked with specific OEMs to incorporate our AC4490 and RM024 RAMP modules into drone aircraft for the purpose of sending and receiving telemetry data over long distances. With ranges of 1-4miles for the RM024 and 2-20miles for the AC4490, these modules are ideal for retrieving the GPS location from an aircraft and for transmitting new telemetry information with latencies of only tens of milliseconds.

For more information on RAMP modules, please visit our website http://www.lairdtech.com/RAMP.