UPS reportedly has reached an historic milestone in drone delivery.
According to Business Insider, UPS is the first company to receive certification from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate a drone airline throughout the country. This means that in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), UPS can operate drones and make drone-based deliveries out of the line of operator sight and at nighttime, across the U.S.
No other drone operator currently has this level of nationwide permission, known as full Part 135 certification. Google subsidiary Wing has partial Part 135 certification to operate drones in Christianburg, Va. Beginning in October, Wing will launch the first-ever pilot of on-demand retail drone delivery in the U.S. with Walgreens and FedEx in Christianburg.
Currently, UPS is using drones to make healthcare deliveries at a large hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. Due to weight restrictions of the drones it is currently using, UPS will initially focus on expanding drone delivery services to other hospitals. However, a UPS executive told Business Insider the delivery company will be examining the cost viability of eventually expanding its use of drones to other industries.