The Sky’s the Limit for UPS With New FAA Drone Approval

UPS drone delivers medical supplies 190326 EC

On October 1st, 2019, UPS was the first company to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a broad plan to use a fleet of drones to expand its package delivery options. The milestone sets the pace for what many companies hope will become the norm in last-mile service.

While other enterprises like Walgreens and FedEx are currently testing the same approach via partnerships with Wing Aviation, the trials are limited to small areas, making it difficult to lay out a more concrete plan for last mile advancements. 

The approval comes with much more leniency than other companies have enjoyed, including permission to fly at night, out of sight of the operator, and to carry cargo over 50 pounds.

With the FAA’s approval secured, UPS plans to start implementing the drones through its subsidiary, Flight Forward. To start, it will deliver packages to hospital campuses. Over time, the company plans to expand its delivery offerings to other commercial and residential customers. 

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