September 25, 2023
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved another company to fly delivery drones longer distances without visual observers.
Zipline International received FAA approval to deliver commercial packages in Salt Lake City, Utah and Bentonville, Arkansas beyond visual line of sight.
Zipline’s Sparrow drone will release the packages using a parachute. Known as Zips, the drones have an onboard detection and avoidance system for continuous, real-time monitoring.
“This decision means that we can start to transition delivery to solutions that are 10 times as fast, less expensive and zero emission,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, Zipline CEO and co-founder. “It means that Zipline hubs across the country can now go from serving a few thousand homes to serving hundreds of thousands of homes each year and millions of people, which will save time, money and even lives.”
Earlier this month the FAA gave UPS Flight Forward, uAvionix and Phoenix Air approval to operate drones beyond visual line of sight. The approvals were issued following a request for public comment on the applications.
The FAA is working to develop standard rules to integrate drones into the National Airspace System, rather than set aside separate airspace exclusively for drone operations.
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