San Francisco-based Zipline garnered FAA Part 135 air carrier certification, authorizing it to complete the longest-range on-demand commercial drone deliveries in the U.S.
Part 135 certification allows Zipline to significantly expand its U.S. service with partners, including Novant Health, Cardinal Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and Magellan Rx Management. According to a news release, with initial flights out of Zipline’s hub in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the company will begin operations with Novant Health, Magellan Rx and Cardinal Health later this month.
The company operates with Walmart in the U.S., Toyota Tsusho in Japan and at a national scale in Rwanda and Ghana. In Rwanda and Ghana, it serves more than 2,000 healthcare facilities. Zipline also plans to launch deliveries in Utah with its partner Intermountain Healthcare later this year, plus it intends to add expanded flights with Walmart in Arkansas.
Flying routes under the new certification can reach up to 26 miles roundtrip. The company said its system helps to reduce congestion and emissions, too, having shown in a real-world sustainability analysis that Zipline deliveries reduce carbon emissions by up to 98% compared to traditional delivery methods.
“Zipline’s sustainable instant delivery system is transforming healthcare and retail,” Zipline co-founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo said in the release. “Today, on average, Zipline makes a delivery every four minutes—ensuring people get access to the products they need, the moment they need them. With our part 135 certification, and in close collaboration with our partners and the FAA, we are one step closer to making safe, clean and quiet instant delivery a reality for communities across the U.S.”
Zipline designs, manufactures and operates the world’s largest automated, on-demand delivery service. To date, the company has flown more than 23 million autonomous miles, including BVLOS operations, and completed more than 325,000 commercial deliveries with its electric aircraft.