Matternet Set to Produce M2 Delivery Drones in the US After Receiving FAA Greenlight
Matternet’s groundbreaking FAA Type Certification for its M2 drone in September of 2022 was followed quickly by being granted a Production Certificate for the craft by the US Federal Aviation Administration. With the Production Certificate, Matternet can now begin mass production of its M2 drone at its factory in Mountain View, California.
The Production Certificate will eventually allow Matternet to produce, test, and grant airworthiness certificates for M2 drones.
To date, no other drone manufacturers have received the trio of certifications—Type, Production, and Airworthiness—that the FAA requires for operating drones commercially without a waiver. But Matternet is in the lead, with two out of three.
“Receiving an FAA Production Certificate is yet another milestone in establishing Matternet as the first—and currently only—company able to produce certified delivery drone systems in the United States,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, the company’s founder and CEO. “The aircraft produced under this Certificate will be the very ones that lead a transformation of how we deliver sensitive materials, especially in critical industries like healthcare.”
The first M2 drones manufactured under this Production Certificate are anticipated to go into service in December 2022.
Matternet has worked with health systems in Switzerland and Abu Dhabi, as well as delivery partnerships with health systems in North Carolina and Florida, and with UPS. In 2017, Matternet became the first business in the world to be given permission to operate commercial BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) drone networks above Swiss cities. In 2019, Matternet and UPS partnered for the first commercial drone delivery operations in the U.S.
But now, armed with Type and Production Certificates, the company is looking to expand its presence in the United States.
How does Matternet’s system work? The drone flies along predetermined routes, commanded and controlled remotely from an operating center. To track the aircraft, the center uses geofencing technology, and to detect air traffic, the drone is equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). If a malfunction is reported, the M2 automatically deploys a parachute or conducts evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.
“The key focus for the Matternet aircraft has been to really build the safest, most precise, quietest aircraft that can serve urban and suburban areas,” Raptopoulos said.
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