Uber is set to break into the drone delivery market after applying to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for permission to begin conducting flights in the US.
The innovative taxi company’s subsidiary Uber Elevate applied to the FAA for 16 exemptions to federal safety and operations regulations usually required for traditional aircraft.
According to the filing, Uber wants to start “food delivery in very small packages” in San Diego, initially limiting operational flights to a four-mile radius below 400 feet.
It will use the AirRobot 200 Unmanned Aircraft System to carry out its deliveries, which is capable of flying with just over 25 pounds.
“Granting Uber’s petition will help enable Uber’s operations in this space, providing meaningful operational information to the FAA and to (the U.S. Department of Transportation), while helping to demonstrate the utility of the existing regulatory structure to support this type of operation,” Uber’s head of flight operations Luke Fischer stated.
This comes after Google’s owner Alphabet became the first company in history to secure approval from the FAA to begin making drone deliveries in the US with its Wing Aviation arm.
By being granted the same certifications as smaller airlines, Wing will now be allowed to charge for deliveries of goods to clients in Virginia, and later request permission to expand to other regions.
Although drone regulation means they are still not permitted to fly over crowded or urban areas, it is the only company to have secured permissions beyond carrying out demonstration flights.