The design of Matternet's Model M2 drone for delivering packages was reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and it was given the green light. In a news statement, Matternet says that the Model M2 will be the first non-military unmanned aerial vehicle to gain Type Certification by the FAA, which verifies that an aircraft's design fulfils regulatory criteria.
As part of the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program, the drone manufacturer Matternet, located in California, has spent the last four years conducting flight tests in the United States with its Model M2 aircraft. According to Matternet, having the go-ahead from the FAA might make the process of "implementing new networks and gaining permissions" more streamlined.
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Matternet’s Delivery Drone Journey
Matternet teamed with UPS in 2019 to transport medical supplies in North Carolina and subsequently began delivering medications in Florida. Additionally, Matternet increased its presence in Switzerland by forming a partnership with Swiss Post to facilitate the delivery of laboratory samples and blood tests. The program was kept on hold in 2019 after two of its drones were involved in accidents inside the nation; however, Matternet has since stated that it would take over the drone delivery program now being run by Swiss Post in 2023.
The FAA has issued a statement claiming that the Matternet Model M2 drone "meets all government rules for safe, reliable, and controllable processes and gives a level of safety comparable to established airworthiness standards that apply to other aircraft categories." The four-rotor drone has been approved to carry payloads of up to four pounds, fly at an altitude of 400 feet or lower, and reach a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour.
Other Companies Focused On Delivery Drones
The statement made by Matternet comes at a time when other IT (and retail) companies are beginning to increase their attempts to get their drone delivery services off the ground. In May, Walmart said that by the end of 2022, it plans to extend its drone delivery network, which it established the previous year in conjunction with DroneUp, to the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Amazon has also revealed that it intends to begin its dormant drone delivery program in June, planning to deliver drone-powered deliveries to Lockeford, California, and College Station, Texas. Wing, a drone firm owned by Alphabet, has begun testing its aircraft in various locations around the state of Texas. It has also started developing aircraft that can carry heavier payloads.
Featured image: Matternet
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