UPS Forms Drone Delivery Subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward

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UPS has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Part 135 certification to operate commercial drone flights under a new subsidiary.

Dubbed UPS Flight Forward Inc., the new subsidiary is a recently incorporated business that could receive Part 135 certification as early as this year, putting UPS on track to have fully certified, revenue-generating drone operations in the U.S., the company claims.

If approved, the certification would allow for flight operations beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command, notes UPS.

“UPS is committed to using technology to transform the way we do business,” says Scott Price, UPS’ chief transformation and strategy officer. “UPS’ formation of a drone delivery company and application to begin regular operations under this level of certification is historic for UPS and for the drone and logistics industries.”

In partnership with Matternet, UPS currently conducts drone deliveries of medical samples – under the FAA’s Part 107 rules – at WakeMed hospitals in Raleigh, N.C. Part 135 certification would pave the way for service expansions to several other U.S. healthcare networks that have expressed interest in similar services, says UPS.

“This is an exciting and momentous time at UPS, as we leverage the exceptional power of UPS technology and innovation to bring to market new industry-first capabilities,” states David Abney, UPS’ chairman and CEO.

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