Drone home delivery company, Wing Aviation, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin home deliveries in the US, according to a press release that was released on Tuesday (April.23rd).
The FAA said that Wing had gained the approval after it “demonstrated that its operations met the FAA’s rigorous safety requirements to qualify for an air carrier certificate.”
The announcement comes after Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority granted Wing permission to launch a delivery service earlier this month.
Wing, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, began delivering takeaway food, coffee, and medicine to around 100 homes in Canberra (Australia).
The approval means that Wing will start delivering goods in Virginia within the coming months.
“The certification paved the way for Wing Aviation to begin commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, VA,” the FAA said.
In order to receive the certification, the FAA said that Wing partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech.
Gaining the FAA’s approval as an airline was needed if it wants to operate its drone deliveries in the US.
Current FAA regulation prevents a drone from being flown outside of an operator’s line of sight. Licenses have been approved in the past for automated deliveries for demonstration purposes only, and not for commercial businesses.
Gaining FAA’s approval meant that Wing had to also create safety manuals and training routines and implement a safety hierarchy in order to qualify for an air carrier certificate.
“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy,” said US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “Safety continues to be our number one priority as this technology continues to develop and realise its full potential.”
“Wing demonstrated that its operations met the FAA’s rigorous safety requirements to qualify for an air carrier certificate. This is based on extensive data and documentation, as well as thousands of safe flights conducted in Australia over the past several years,” the FAA said.
The FAA also said Wing plans to reach out to the local community before it begins food delivery, to gather feedback to inform its future operations.