Drone services company DroneUp has been approved for the first FAA Waiver for flight over people anywhere in the U.S. This is a major win for drone delivery as moving vehicles are also allowed unrestricted delivery that can support drone delivery in general, and, more specifically, it makes it possible for the delivery of COVID-19 test kits anywhere in the U.S.
Flight over people and moving vehicles is essential in drone delivery as it can take place throughout the country. Until now, U.S. drone regulations have prohibited such access without a waiver. DroneUp, LLC announced such approval with the following press release:
“. . . for the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) Section 107.39 Operation Over People Waiver allowing the unrestricted flight over non-participating persons and moving vehicles to support the drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits . . .
DroneUp’s 107.39 waiver is the first to allow drone delivery operations over people anywhere in the United States without predefined operating areas, locations, or routes. The waiver is also a first to allow unrestricted delivery over-flight of moving vehicles.”*
DroneUp Training and Compliance Director, Brendan Stewart, explained what the ground-breaking waiver required:
“We had to approach this waiver with a strong spirit of collaboration with the FAA, and a willingness to do additional homework to validate our safety case. We came to the table with the safety and standardization infrastructure that you’d expect from a small airline… Operating manuals, a safety management system, practical flight tests and proficiency checks, standardized operational risk management and flight reporting.
Those components were hugely important to articulate to the [FAA] why they should entrust DroneUp with a first-of-its-kind approval . . . We also worked closely with Indemnis who provided the airframe parachute, the core mitigating technology to support our application.”*
This waiver has enabled DroneUp to emerge as a significant player in the delivery sector as it has partnered with retail giant, Walmart and also UPS, the world’s largest package delivery service.
Furthermore, by defining what can be accomplished with drone delivery under the FAA’s Part 107 rule, DroneUp has played another key role in this important breakthrough.