If your Valentine’s Day plans included sending flowers to a loved one via drone, you might want to workshop some last-minute ideas.
The Federal Aviation Administration has halted Michigan florist Flower Delivery Express’ beta testing program, in which flowers are delivered by flying, unmanned robotic technology. First announced in a promotional video, the service is actually illegal, according to the FAA.
Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operating approval. ... Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft -- manned or unmanned -- in U.S. airspace needs some level of authorization from the FAA. Private sector (civil) users can get an experimental airworthiness certificate to do research and development, training and flight demonstrations.
The FAA also said that the only operation that meets these standards is located in the Arctic.
According to a press release, Flower Delivery Express got in one drone delivery before the FAA shut down the operation. The company says it wasn’t aware that its beta test flight was illegal.
The trial run occurred in the Detroit metropolitan area on Saturday, Feb. 8. It can be viewed in the company's promotional video (featured above).
"Unfortunately, we can no longer conduct testing of delivering flowers by drone," CEO Wesley Berry said in a written statement. "However, the good news is that this technology is here to stay. When the time is right, we'll be ready for orders to be delivered, not by an address, but by GPS coordinates. It's exciting to plan the future of the business based on this emerging technology."