UPS applies for FAA drone deliveries certification

UPS upgrades its fleets

UPS has applied for certification to begin drone deliveries in America. The company intends to use drones for commercial purposes, and await a response from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The requested Part 135 certification will allow UPS to deliver products via drone, as a subsidiary company called UPS Flight Forward Inc.

Scott Price, chief transformation and strategy office for UPS, said: “UPS is committed to using technology to transform the way we do business.”

“UPS’s formation of a drone delivery company and application to begin regular operations under this level of certification is historic for UPS and for the drone and logistics industries, overall.”

UPS is already a logistics leader across the world, offering package delivery and freight. The company operates more than 220 countries.

In recent years UPS has seen its variety of fleets develop. It added 125 Tesla electric trucks in 2018, adding to its existing fuel-based vehicles. 

Last year, UPS also started a partnership with Arrival to develop and trial a fleet of 35 custom-made electric delivery vehicles. The zero-emission vans are made from lightweight composite material and have a battery range of up to 150 miles. 

UPS Flight Forward will join its recent fleet additions, and would operate under the FAA’s full Part 135 certification, which has a legal designation to a company as a certified Air Carrier and Operator.

In this present moment, UPS is responsible for drone healthcare deliveries under a specific use-case under FAA Part 107 rules.

In March, UPS initiated the first FAA-sanctioned use of a drone for routine flights involving the delivery of a product under a contractual delivery agreement in the United States at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in the Raleigh, N.C. 

The company delivers medical samples via unmanned drones, supplementing a ground courier service. 

UPS has said it intends to expand its drone delivery service to other hospitals or campus settings.

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