At the beginning of July, NAAMA, the National Drone Delivery Network Program (NAAMA is the Hebrew acronym for “urban aerial transport”), tested drones in practical use in the central city of Hadera. This marks the second phase of Israel’s drone delivery pilot project. Users ordered a wide variety of products via the app and documented the completion of their orders. That doesn’t sound spectacular, but it does require complex coordination that has to cope with the simultaneous use of hundreds or even thousands of drones. Work is also underway to increase the payload of the drones, which is currently 2.5 kilograms (5.51 pounds), and the range (currently 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles).
The program was launched last year as a collaborative effort between the Israel’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), the Agency for Innovation, the Israel Ministry of Transport (through Ayalon Highways), the Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) and the Smart Transportation Authority, as well as private Israeli and foreign companies. They want to bring about technological breakthroughs and overcome regulatory obstacles. Israel is to become a testing location for drone pilot programs and operations.
It is still not yet known when exactly the drone delivery network will go into widespread commercial use. Initially there will probably be regional units that will eventually be merged to form a nationwide network. The aim is not only to deliver goods quickly, but also to reduce road traffic.