The new drone subsidiary – UPS Flight Forward – is part of a raft of service enhancements UPS unveiled, including a new deferred economy delivery service for cross-border e-commerce.
The service enhancements were announced ahead of its 1H financial results later today.
UPS says it created the new drone subsidiary and applied for US FAA certification in a bid to forward the use of drones in targeted markets.
The company says it has filed for Part 135 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in order to “scale drone operations in targeted markets faster.”
The certification, once granted, will allow application for FAA-approved flight operations beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command.
UPS says it intends to “remain at the forefront of drone commercial aviation and the industry leader in FAA fully certified US drone operation for routine flights”.
Currently UPS and its partner, Matternet, operate special drone healthcare deliveries of medical samples under FAA Part 107 rules at WakeMed hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. Part 135 certification will pave the way for service expansions to several other US healthcare networks that have expressed interest in similar services, the express giant says.
“This is an exciting and momentous time at UPS, as we leverage the exceptional power of UPS technology and innovation to bring to market new industry-first capabilities,” says David Abney, UPS chairman and CEO.
Meanwhile the company also announced a number of other service enhancements, including launch today, of UPS Worldwide Economy, a new deferred service designed to provide affordable and efficient international shipping options around e-commerce.
The new offering supports international merchants’ desire to make more low-priced items available for cross-border e-commerce transactions.
This new service initially will be available to UPS customers in the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong and the UK, with additional key global markets being added in the near future.
The express provider also made service enhancements within the US domestic market, including: UPS My Choice for small and medium businesses (SMBs) which allows customers to easily monitor, plan and control deliveries and outgoing shipments.
And as part of its ongoing plans, UPS is also making major investments to optimise transportation assets, shipping modes and technology resources to improve time in transit in the US domestic market. Furthermore, UPS is now enabling customers to tender shipments later for next-day Ground delivery in cities and towns with about 85 per cent of the US population.