Zing Drone Deliveries has announced it has joined the FAA’s BEYOND program to develop and scale drone delivery operations in the US. Zing will be working with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to test out drone deliveries in the state under the BEYOND program.
The BEYOND program is an extension of the Integration Pilot Program (IPP) that successfully came to an end late last month. BEYOND was initiated the day after to tackle the remaining challenges commercial drones still face.
The main challenge is beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations that can be repeated, scaled, and be economically viable, focusing on infrastructure inspection, public operations, and small package delivery.
As a part of the trials, Zing is expected to test out NASA’s unmanned traffic management (UTM) system to allow for an end-to-end drone delivery platform to operate safely.
Michael Kratsios, US chief technology officer, said:
The IPP propelled the American drone industry forward, allowing for unprecedented expansions in testing and operations through innovative private-public partnerships across the country. Now, the BEYOND program will build upon this success, tackling the next big challenges facing drone integration.
The program will also look at leveraging industry operations to improve analysis and quantify drone operations’ societal and economic benefits. Another big issue is the community’s perception of drones and will include data collection to see what can be done.
Rather than operating under waivers, BEYOND focuses on currently established rules and laws to collect accurate data to develop more accurate standards. The BEYOND program will collect and address community feedback, understand the societal and community benefits of drones, and streamline the approval process for drone integration.
Ian Annase, founder and CEO of Zing, stated:
It is an honor to be a part of the exclusive group of partners in Kansas who will be testing and implementing these cutting edge operations. We are grateful for the opportunity to be one of the first to implement and scale package delivery use cases that are Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).