On Tuesday, UPS announced that the US FAA (United States Federal Aviation Administration) has granted the parcel delivery company certification to operate a fleet of drones for the purpose of making OTA deliveries. The Part 135 standard certification grants UPS certification to use UAV (Unmanned air vehicles) for BLVOS (beyond line-of-sight) operation for any cargo that exceeds 55 pounds, even at night.
The first delivery flight was made on September 27 to deliver medical cargo to WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C. The deliver was also the first one that UPS earned revenue from, making a new era in the way we expect deliveries. The medial field is one of the few applications where time-sensitive situations can benefit from drone delivery runs.
This is history in the making and we aren’t done yet. Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future. – David Abney, UPS CEO
The Part 135 Standard certifies that UPS has no limits on the size of scope of its operations. It can fly an unlimited number of drones and isn’t limited to the number of remote operators it can employ. This way, UPS can really start to scale its deliveries for medical customers, and eventually expand to residential deliveries.
Looking to the future, UPS must continue to develop all the safety and privacy aspects of making UAV deliveries including DAA (detect and avoid) technologies to ensure drones don’t collide with people, vehicles, trees, or buildings.