By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
UPS announced two big changes to its delivery services — Planned drone deliveries, and an expanded delivery schedule to seven days a week.
UPS, one of the world’s leading package delivery companies, has already created a subsidiary dedicated to drone deliveries called “UPS Flight Forward,” the company announced Tuesday.
The company is seeking Federal Aviation Administration approval — known as Part 135 certification — for UPS Flight Forward to fly drones “beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command,” a UPS statement said. Other delivery companies, including Uber Eats and Amazon Air, have applied for this approval, but it hasn’t been granted, The Verge reported.
It’s not clear how long it will take for UPS to get FAA approval.
UPS is currently operating a limited number of drone deliveries in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of a partnership with drone company Matternet. These drones deliver medical samples to WakeMed hospitals in the area.
“Part 135 certification will pave the way for service expansions to several other U.S. healthcare networks that have expressed interest in similar services,” UPS said in a statement.
Starting Jan. 1, UPS will offer pick-up and delivery services seven days a week, a move that UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren said “makes good business sense.” The company currently does not offer delivery services on Sunday.