drones

On a recent crisp winter morning outside an empty office park in the San Fernando Valley, there were no workers to be seen. That is unless one counts the cooler-sized delivery robot slowly whirring down the sidewalk as Felipe Chavez, founder and CEO of Kiwibot, nervously watched to make sure the droid did not veer of course.

Just as no one now thinks twice about seeing e-scooters that were non-existent before late 2017, the sight of a robot ferrying salads, pizza, or groceries could become common on Los Angeles sidewalks before this year is over.

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Los Angeles residents could be receiving their Postmates order or prescription drugs from CVS via drone as soon as 2023, under a new initiative introduced Wednesday by the city's Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"Los Angeles is where we turn today's ideas into tomorrow's reality — a place where a barrier-breaking concept like urban air mobility can truly get off the ground," Garcetti said in a statement. "The Urban Air Mobility Partnership will make our city a force for cleaner skies, safer transportation, expanded prosperity, and stunning innovation and provide a template for how other local governments can take this new technology to even greater heights."

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I am not a drone pilot or any kind of pilot. I don't even own a drone. But I was intrigued by the prospect of flying one without leaving the house.

I recently gave one a whirl from some 60 miles and a county away — easily maintaining my social distance from the relative comfort of my Los Angeles living room couch.

The flight was a small sampling of the universal remote technology that Los Angeles-based vRotors has created for robotic devices. Their technology has inspired the Israel Aerospace Industries North America to work with the company to automate the landing process for their next Moon mission.

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