Running Headfirst into the Regulations
“At DroneUp, we run head first into the rules, not away from them” - Tom Walker, CEO
Around the same time Wing was obtaining its Part 135 certification, DroneUp was testing the limits of Part 107 with funding and researchers from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). At the former campus of Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, the team conducted 200 drone flights and successfully delivered 1.275-pound payload packages to 10-foot diameter targets on 1500-foot round trips using off-the-shelf commercial tech within FAA Part 107 flight rules. This Operation Last Mile exercise involved 10 pilots working through seven test scenarios, including one dubbed “E-VLOS to determine variables in performance between test operations within visual line of sight of the remote pilot in charge (RPIC), and operations where visual line of sight (VLOS) of the RPIC is occluded by terrestrial obstructions.”
Fast forward in time. DroneUp is now routinely conducting short-range final mile deliveries of COVID-19 at-home self-collection kits under Part 107. At locations in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cheektowaga, New York near Buffalo and, more recently, El Paso, Texas, DroneUp is flying home self-collection and contactless at home COVID test kits with a forty-five minute turnaround time from order placement to doorstep. In a little more than seven weeks, the company has racked up 1,340 miles, 114 flight hours in local neighborhoods and hundreds of deliveries.
CIT Press 2020-2021