The Federal Aviation Administration has granted delivery giant UPS certification to deliver packages to customers by drone.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced on Tuesday that UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward, which delivers health-care products, has been cleared to transport products by drone beyond the visual line of sight.
“This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace,” said Chao in a statement. She also highlighted the decision’s potential to expand access to health care in North Carolina, where UPS Flight Forward already operates on a more limited basis delivering supplies around the campus of WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh.
UPS said in a statement that the FAA’s approval represented “the highest level of certification, one that no other company has attained,” and added that it would allow the company to “integrate drones into the UPS logistics network, creating potential for new applications in many industries.”
The official certification was awarded Friday, after which the company completed its first permitted drone delivery.