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DroneUp receives groundbreaking approval for drone deliveries

DroneUp receives groundbreaking approval for drone deliveries
DroneUp receives groundbreaking approval for drone deliveries
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In a significant milestone, Walmart-backed company DroneUp has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). 

DroneUp CEO Tom Walker has told FlyingMag this is a testament to their “dedication to safety and innovation.” Without revealing details, Walker talks excitedly about what this significant approval means for future innovation at DroneUP.

There is already talk of “commercial scalability,” which customers are eagerly waiting for, as the drone delivery industry is expanding at a rapid rate. 

Market.us research predicts that between 2023 and 2032, the drone package delivery market is expected to grow by 47.5% CAGR. This industry has the potential to unlock $64,926.9 billion by 2032.

Only a handful of drone companies have been authorized to go BVLOS. This waiver is specifically for medical deliveries. 

Founded in 2016, the company was initially set up for last-mile delivery to transport things like garments, medication, and other light foods from the warehouse to customers.

DroneUp shifted gears 

In May 2023, DroneUp was in financial trouble and had to cut jobs. CNBC reported at the time that the reason for the layoffs was a shift in focus on delivery hubs. 

According to media reports, a decision was made back then to move away from construction and real estate surveillance, aerial data capturing, and marketing. 

Eight months ago, DroneUp CEO Tom Walker told the media that he is “shifting our business model”. He vowed to hire more people than what they laid off. 

FAA safety regulations

According to FAA requirements, drones can only fly a certain height to be visible to humans. If a drone company wants to move beyond this line, it has to apply for a Part 107 BVLOS Waiver. 

Only a limited number of companies have received the go-ahead from the FAA. In typical circumstances, the FAA requires staff to monitor the drone while in operation for other aircraft within a two-square-meter radius of the drone. There is, however, no need to keep a visual of the drone itself. 

Saving costs

Although this is a significant milestone, there is much to celebrate regarding cost saving. It can reduce operational costs by cutting out salaries and other expenses. 

This means humans no longer need to observe the drones visually; as FlyingMag reports, longer routes are potentially available. 

This development signals a shift in operations for DroneUp and its partners like Walmart. This could mean better, faster, and more cost-effective deliveries for customers soon. 

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About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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