UPS is set to become the latest major company to throw its hat into the drone delivery market after applying to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a licence to begin testing.
Earlier this week the delivery giant applied to the FAA for a certificate which would allow it to carry out commercial revenue-generating drone deliveries without significant restrictions.
Should the FAA grant UPS the Part 135 certification, which it could do later this year, it will mark the first time such permissions have been granted to a commercial entity.
With its currently licence strict exemptions apply when drones are flown over populated areas, at night or beyond the line of site of a supervisor.
If its new licence is granted, UPS will be given the same permissions as commercial airlines, meaning it will be able to carry out commercial, medical and industrial deliveries.
Despite this, UPS would still have to meet stringent safety standards including writing the manuals for each model and use case, codifying what the aircraft will do in the event of a failure and how operators will respond to lost aircraft.
“This certification will make us a full-fledged commercial drone delivery company,” head of UPS’ advanced technology group Bala Ganesh said.
Though it will begin by expanding into the medical delivery market, the company eventually expects to move into industrial, manufacturing and retail markets.