What was once considered science fiction is coming closer to reality with more news in the world of package-delivering drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday announced it is adding two new drone companies to a growing list of providers that can operate beyond visual line of sight.
This approval includes UPS subsidiary Matternet’s M2 drone and opens up the prospect of drones being used by the largest package delivery company in the world.
UPS maintains a fleet of over 125,000 trucks and 500 planes delivering packages globally on a daily basis making it one of the largest players to dive into the use of autonomous drones.
The FAA also approved uAvionix’s Vantis network for operation beyond visual line of sight, which allows expanded testing for its Command and Control and Detect and Avoid features.
This follows an announcement last month from Walmart which is partnering with Alphabet’s drone company Wing to expand drone service from two locations in the Dallas metro region.
Walmart has already completed over 10,000 deliveries from 36 stores across seven states using drones from DroneUp, Flytrex, and Zipline.
Amazon, despite spending nearly $2 billion on its own drone delivery technology continues to face technical and regulatory challenges putting its vision of home deliveries at risk through its Prime Air offering.
But with the successes of Walmart, and the potential of UPS and other large carriers expanding their use of drones, the air might soon be full of buzzing.
With all these drones flying, the FAA has a challenge ahead to begin to integrate these drone networks into its national aviation systems to allow planes and drones to safely co-exist in the sky.