United Parcel Service announced this week that it has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones to deliver medical packages to locations across the country.
The certification becomes U.P.S. Use of multiple drones to supply health supplies within federal regulations and to fly drones out of line of sight, according to an FA statement
. has with the F.A.A. Flying drones at the WakeMed campus in Raleigh, NC, deliver medical packages – including blood samples and tissue – to various buildings on the property, said Scott Price, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at UPS. During his one-year probation period, he said UPS flew about 1
While UPS's drone airline UPS Flight Forward is currently limited by certification for the next few years to use in medical locations, the company hopes to expand afterward. "This is the first step to deliver to homes and rural areas," Price said Wednesday. The certification of the drone airline of U.P.S. At a time when the United States is pressing to remain at the forefront of UAVs, the agency said. "This is a big step forward in the safe integration of unmanned aerial systems into our airspace," said Elaine L. Chao, US Secretary of Transportation.
So far the F.A.A. has just awarded another certificate for flying drones. This was granted to Wing, the drone delivery unit of Alphabet, Google's parent company. The two certifications are different. Wing may only use one pilot and one drone at a time, while U.P.S. may deploy multiple pilots and numerous drones simultaneously, said Tammy Jones, a F.A.A. Spokeswoman.
Currently the F.A.A. reviews inquiries or letters of intent from six other companies to conduct commercial drone operations, said Ms. Jones. Zipline distributes blood in Rwanda using drones, and Swoop Aero delivers vaccines and other medical supplies in the Pacific.
The delivery of drones has also proven to be economical for the United States.
"Delivery by drone is cheaper than the cost of a person driving a car," Price said.
Amazon has spent a while trying to deliver packages to millions of customers via drone. In 2013, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said in a " 60-minute interview" that he had anticipated drone deliveries for Amazon.
Three Years Later Mr. Bezos announced that Amazon has completed its first delivery of drones to a customer in Cambridgeshire, England.
In relation to the United States, customers in urban areas should not hold their breath to deliver drones, Price said. "Use in urban areas," he said, "is not clear."