The possibility of drone delivery has been teetering on the horizon for years. There have been a plethora of questions stemming from the idea of commercial drone delivery. Things such as whether or not it could be considered trespassing, or what would happen if a drone was to malfunction and hurt someone are valid concerns when contemplating the future of deliveries made by machines.
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted a certification to UPS so that the company is now recognized as a commercial airline. UPS received something called a Part 135 Standard certification which allows them to operate as many drones as they wish, wherever they’d like. The company has already been testing a delivery service in Raleigh, North Carolina and it appears that they’re gearing up to expand their reach.
Now, pushing the reality of drone delivery along is the announced partnership of UPS with retail pharmacy, CVS. The two have teamed up to develop a drone delivery service. The initiative has already created a unit called UPS Flight Forward which is pushing to make drove deliveries a reality across markets and throughout the United States.
There has not been a date set for when the drove deliveries could actually begin taking place, but both companies believe that the service could expand customer experience by improving convenience and building a lower-cost, more efficient delivery model. While the FAA has certified UPS, there are a few strict rules for commercial drone services. The flying machines are only supposed to operate during daylight hours, away from people, and always within the pilot’s line of sight.
UPS has been testing the delivery service by carrying medical samples between facilities in Raeighligh with success. Now, they’ve come up with a design that would launch the drones from the top of their delivery trucks, so that essentially, the drones are working alongside drivers, increasing the rate of deliveries.
The UPS/CVS partnership is not the only one of its kind making big moves in drone delivery. Wing, a company owned by Alphabet has announced a trial service, delivering to customers in Christiansburg, Virginia. Wing has teamed up with Walgreens and FedEx Express for their own similar service and are also running delivery trials in Europe and Australia.
It seems that advances with drone deliveries are increasing rapidly. While UPS has received the certification from the FAA there are still many parts of the equation that will need answers moving forward. For the time being, it will depend on individual states to regulate the companies further. However, things are shaping up and it seems that the companies slow and measured approach is working.
While in the past it seemed questionable whether drone delivery was possible or not, now it only seems like a question of when.