UPS has established Flight Forward, a subsidiary to scale drone operations in targeted markets.
The firm has filed for Part 135 certification from the FAA to operate which, when granted, will allow application for FAA-approved flight operations beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command.
UPS confirmed the move is part of its plan to remain at the forefront of drone commercial aviation and the industry leader in FAA fully certified US drone operation for routine flights.
UPS and its partner, Matternet, currently operate special drone healthcare deliveries of medical samples under FAA Part 107 rules at WakeMed hospitals in Raleigh.
The Part 135 certification is expected to pave the way for service expansions to several other US healthcare networks that have expressed interest in similar services.
David Abney, UPS chairman and CEO, commented: “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.”
He added: “We have even more exciting solutions on the way. UPS will remain an indispensable partner by delivering value for customers, employees and shareowners through speed, technology and reliable execution.”
The news comes as UPS announced an extensive roll-out of new customer services and capabilities designed to capture growth opportunities in strategic markets.
UPS is targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), e-commerce, high-growth international countries, and healthcare and life sciences.
The market segments were outlined by company leaders as priority growth areas when addressing investors at the company’s Transformation Conference in September 2018.