FAA grounds Valentine’s Day delivery drone


Sending flowers through the air could have helped many a florist and would-be cupid on this snowy, slushy Valentine’s Day. Alas, it’s not to be, as the FAA has reportedly shot down a Michigan company’s experiment to use a drone to deliver bouquets of roses. According to CBS:

“FlowerDeliveryExpress.com had intended to deliver as many free rose bouquets as possible to its beta test group on Valentine’s Day to benchmark the delivery capacity of its drone.”

The company called off the plan after the federal aviation regulator reportedly told the owner that any form of commercial drone use required a permit, and likened drones to “flying food processors.”

The outcome may come as a relief to some lovers who would prefer not to have their roses swoop down from the sky, but it also raises the ongoing question of how drones may or not be used.

After my colleague Signe Brewster flew a drone around San Francisco and shared this amazing video, I looked into what the law says about all this. It turns out that recreational drone use is largely unregulated, and that the FAA’s authority over commercial use  — and the definition of “commercial” — is being debated in a landmark Virginia court case.

All this means it could be a while before we’ll roses arrive via drone delivery. In the meantime, have some sympathy for the poor florists who are facing a Valentine’s Day bust due to all that snow.

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