UPS starts deliveries medical samples
UPS is one step closer to delivering drones nationwide.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it had granted UPS a certificate of operation for limited UAV delivery services throughout the United States.
Over the past six months, UPS has already delivered 1,100 deliveries of medical samples to the Raleigh Hospital, North Carolina, as part of a government pilot program. Delivery takes 150 meters from one hospital to another. UPS is now planning to expand its operations to more than 20 hospitals over the next two years.
Despite this, significant obstacles remain before UPS can deliver the packages to your home or make the delivery of unmanned aircraft a meaningful business. The FAA is still developing critical rules for the delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles, including the way authorities can remotely identify drones.
The Trump administration has taken steps to try to expedite the adoption of this technology. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a limited program to ease the rules and allow more complex tests of unmanned aerial vehicles, including flying over people and at night. UPS flights in North Carolina are part of these trials, and the FAA must approve all routes.
For the first time, UPS announced in March that it will work with Matternet, an unmanned aerial vehicle company, for daily deliveries between two locations at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. UPS said it earns revenue from flights, but declined to provide additional information.
UPS drones fly autonomously along pre-programmed routes that are controlled by a remote pilot. Companies such as UPS will ultimately need to get government permission to operate without human intervention in order to make drones a viable business.
Wing, the parent drone delivery company of Google Alphabet’s parent company, was the first company to receive a similar certificate from the government. He launches a limited pilot in Christiansburg, Virginia, with Walgreen this month. Like UPS, it faces severe constraints to expanding its business.
The UPS certificate has fewer restrictions, since it does not limit the number of pilots that it can use at the same time, which allows you to make an unlimited number of flights. The wing is limited to one pilot, so it can only perform one flight at a time.
More companies are likely to receive certificates as the FAA processes six applications.