UPS is seeking permission from the federal government to operate an extensive network of commercial drones in the US. If approved, the delivery giant can fly over populated areas at night and outside the operator's field of vision with drones.
UPS is looking for what is known as Part 135 certification under the Federal Aviation Administration, which applies to & # 39; airlines and operators & # 39 ;. Since they are considered to be airplanes under federal law, drones from delivery companies such as UPS are considered by the same safety and economic certification processes like companies that fly with airplanes.
Very few drone companies have received the green light under Part 135. In April, Alphabet & # 39; s Wing was the first to receive FAA approval to operate commercially. Others, including Uber & # 39; s delivery service Uber Eats and Amazon Air, still need approval. (Amazon recently unveiled its new drone at a conference.)
UPS sets up a new subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, to oversee drone activities. The recently recorded spin-off could already receive part-135 certification this year, UPS predicts. The certification, if granted, allows application for FAA approved operations outside the field of vision, & # 39; night, and without limiting the number of drones or commanded operators. Such drone operations are severely restricted in the US and only approved exceptionally.
UPS & # 39; experience with drone delivery is limited to a pilot program with autonomous delivery drone startup Matternet, which uses drones to deliver medical supplies in North Carolina. In 2016, the delivery giant also worked with Zipline and non-profit Gavi vaccine to deliver blood samples to remote locations in Rwanda.
Despite predictions from tech moguls and CEO & # 39; s that the air is finally full of package-bearing quadcopters, the delivery of drones is still within its budding stages. Airspace regulations offer huge obstacles for most companies that want to launch commercial services.
Morgan Stanley estimates that autonomous city aircraft can become an industry of $ 1.5 trillion by 2040. This includes everything from vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL), flying taxis, military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and delivery drones. But if concerns have shown us something so far, it might not be easy to get people used to the idea that packages are being shaken back and forth: 54 percent of Americans in a Pew Research Center survey 2017 rejected for drones flying in the vicinity of residential areas.