The drone industry learned of Matternet’s type certification in a surprise announcement by David Boulter, FAA Associate Administrator (Acting) Aviation Safety, during the Commercial UAV Expo Keynotes earlier this week. The type certification is the first of it’s kind issued in the US for a non-military drone, and went to Matternet’s M2 drone delivery system. Matternet has partnered with logistics company UPS to perform drone delivery on medical campuses, as well as delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. The company has been one of the pioneers of drone delivery since their inception in 2011.
Matternet’s type certification was achieved with the help of global law firm Hogan Lovells. In a press release, Hogan Lovells explains what goes into the type certification process:
Through its type certification process, the FAA reviews the design of an aircraft and all component parts, including propellers, engines, and control stations. Certification signifies the design is in compliance with applicable airworthiness, noise, fuel venting, and exhaust emissions standards.
Over the last several years, a handful of drone manufacturers have been working with the FAA to win type certification. This first approval is a crucial step, enabling Matternet to demonstrate the safety, efficiency, and economic benefits of its drones.
Hogan Lovells partner Lisa Ellman, who heads the firm’s Uncrewed Aviation Systems practice, is a well-recognized leader in the drone industry. Hogan Lovells and Ellman helped Matternet navigate the evolving process of type certification for unmanned systems, helping along the way to clarify the procedure for other drone manufacturers. Washington, D.C.-based senior associate Matthew Clark also advised Matternet. Hogan Lovells’ UAS team also includes Arjun Garg, Patrick Rizzi, Emily Kimball, and Allisa Newman.
“There are incredible benefits to commercial drone operation, including for safety, sustainability and security – but many of these benefits require expanded operational approvals that certification of the drone will support. Type certification is key to accelerating the integration of complex, safe drone operations into the National Airspace System.
The first certification of a commercial drone is a significant milestone, and a vital step towards enabling more advanced drone operations in the U.S. Now that the FAA has done this successfully once, we hope the agency can incorporate lessons learned and streamline and improve the process for the agency and the broader industry,” Ellman told DRONELIFE.
As co-founder of the Commercial Drone Alliance, Lisa Ellman works to represent the commercial drone alliance at all levels of government, to promote the safe integration of drones into the airspace.
Read more about Matternet:
- Matternet M2 Drone Receives First FAA Type Certification for a Non-Military Drone
- Matternet Station Makes Drone Delivery Scalable, at a Reasonable Cost
- Drone Delivery in Abu Dhabi: Matternet and SkyGo Announce First City-Wide Drone Network
- UPS Flight Forward and Matternet M2 Drones Deliver COVID-19 Vaccines
- Matternet, JAL Expand Drone Delivery to Asia
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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