The first flying drone made solely for shipping parcels has received approval from US aviation regulators, marking a significant advancement for the nascent remote delivery sector.
The Model M2 four-rotor helicopter from Matternet Inc., which can carry a payload weighing up to four pounds (1.8 kilogrammes), is regarded as trustworthy and safe, according to a statement released by the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday. One of the primary obstacles that must be overcome before the devices may run regularly for commercial operations is obtaining regulatory approval for aeronautical designs.
Before aerial drone delivery of packages becomes commonplace, there are still some obstacles that need to be met, such as the necessity for automated flying regulations and a low-altitude air traffic control system. However, the FAA's approval of this new type of rotor-powered vehicle demonstrates that the technology is developing and that the organisation believes it to be as reliable as conventional aircraft.
Since drones started to be used more often about ten years ago, the FAA's decision, known as a type certificate, is the first one to be given for an unpiloted vehicle. In the past, the EPA had only granted limited certifications for drone designs.
One of the levels of safety the FAA has historically applied to the aviation sector is reviewing the design of an aircraft. But many fundamental guidelines, like how to protect passengers, have proven challenging to adapt, which has slowed the commercialization of aerial drones.
The M2 drone will only fly 400 feet above the ground and have a top speed of 45 miles per hour (72 kilometres per hour), according to the FAA. An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by the business.
Numerous businesses, including Alphabet Inc.'s Wing LLC and Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Air, have been conducting testing and gradually obtaining more limited FAA licences for a technology they believe will revolutionise how goods are delivered to consumers' homes.