Earlier today we reported that Apple is one of the 200 companies that are vying to participate in the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Some of the other big-name companies that compete for a spot in the program are well-known ones such as Intel, Amazon, Airbus, and Qualcomm. For most of these, it is pretty obvious why they would be interested to participate. Amazon and Airbus are interested in making deliveries by drone. Intel and Qualcomm are focussed on the fast-growing drone market because of the possibilities it offers for their chip products. Apple, however, seems to be the outlier. Why would the tech giant have an interest in the drone market?
Under the UAS Integration Pilot Program, the FAA will allow companies to fly drones in situations that are typically prohibited by the agency’s rules, such as flying beyond line-of-sight, at night, or over crowds.
Apple is one of the 200 companies that are competing to participate in this program. As far as we know, the company behind the iPhone, never publicly spoke about it having an interest in drones and their participation in the program comes somewhat as a surprise. Why would Apple have an interest in drones?
Fortune suggested that the company may be interested in using drones for Apple’s mapping services. Another guess would be that drones may compensate for a ‘flagging demand‘ for the iPhone X, although that may seem far-fetched. Or would Apple be working on a counter drone system to prevent unmanned aircraft from crashing on top of buildings, such as recently happened at their own Apple Park office?