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First Aerial Delivery Drone Granted Design Approval by FAA

  • Matternet’s Model M2 clears key regulatory ‘milestone’
  • Quadcopter specifications deemed safe for commerical use
An M2 delivery drone during a trial flight in Bern, Switzerland, in 2018.

An M2 delivery drone during a trial flight in Bern, Switzerland, in 2018.

Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg
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US aviation regulators approved designs for the first flying drone built specifically for shipping packages, a major step forward for the fledgling remote delivery industry.

Matternet Inc.’s Model M2, a four-rotor copter capable of carrying a 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) package, is considered safe and reliable, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Wednesday. Winning regulatory permission for aeronautical designs is one of the major hurdles required before the devices can operate routinely for commercial operations.