The M2 drone delivery system by Matternet has achieved type certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is a major step forward for the US drone delivery ecosystem because it’s the first time the FAA has approved the design of a drone built specifically for package deliveries.
Type certification refers to the approval of the design of the aircraft and all component parts (including propellers, engines, control stations, etc.). It signifies the design is in compliance with applicable airworthiness, noise, fuel venting, and exhaust emissions standards.
Matternet is quick to point out that all other drones that have received type certificates from the FAA until now have been built for military purposes. As such, the completion of a four-year rigorous evaluation by the FAA proving the safety and reliability of M2 drones can be seen as a key step in scaling US commercial drone operations.
Here’s Andreas Raptopoulos, founder and CEO of Matternet:
Drone delivery will revolutionize healthcare and e-commerce in the US. We’ve been at the forefront of this revolution since launching US operations in 2019 — we are now ready for scale.
Type certification is mandatory for air carrier operating licenses such as Part 135 on-demand transportation. But for the last four years, a select number of drones (including the Matternet M2) have been operating under Part 135 using an exemption while the systems are evaluated. Receiving FAA type certification will now streamline Matternet’s path for implementing new delivery networks and getting required regulatory approvals.
Jim O’Sullivan, vice president of regulatory strategy for Matternet, sums up by saying:
This is a victory for not only Matternet, but for the whole UAS industry as it indicates a maturing of the industry and a shift away from exemptions and waivers towards more standard regulation.