UPS gets government approval to fly drones

UPS has won government approval to operate a nationwide fleet of drones.

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The company can start expanding deliveries on hospital campuses and eventually move closer to making deliveries to consumers.

But before UPS or other operators can put the drones to use, there are many regulatory hurdles.

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The Federal Aviation Administration awarded UPS an airline certificate last week,  the first U.S. company to get such a broad approval.

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UPS Flight Forward, a subsidiary, has operated more than 1,000 flights at WakeMed's hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.

UPS still faces severe restrictions before it can run a large commercial operation with drones.

Operations will be limited to campus-like settings because FAA has not yet written regulations to allow commercial drone flights over populated areas.

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao called the decision a step forward in integrating drones into the U.S. airspace and maintaining U.S. leadership in unmanned aviation.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.