• Matternet has secured FAA approval for its M2 delivery drone
  • Aerologix says once you’ve jumped the regulatory hurdle its basically blue sky from there
  • Elsight says this opens the door for Aussie drone stocks to accelerate roll-out plans


US drone manufacturer Matternet has secured the first-ever standard type certificate issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its M2 drone. 

Essentially, Matternet has demonstrated its drone is in compliance with airworthiness, noise, fuel venting, and exhaust emissions standards – allowing the company to scale drone parcel delivery operations in the US.

“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,” founder and CEO Andreas Raptopoulos said.

The company said it’s a victory for the whole UAS industry as it indicates a maturing of the industry and a shift away from exemptions and waivers towards more standard.

It’s a huge deal for drone players worldwide, and opens up the door for ASX-listed companies like Elsight (ASX:ELS), and commercial drone companies like Carbonix and drone pilot providers Aerologix to potentially follow in its footsteps.

Fast tracking drone delivery in Australia

Aerologix co-founder Tom Caska said there are several companies already doing drone delivery in remote areas, but he expects this will really fast-track delivery in Australia.

“The drone industry has grown so much over the last 10 years because the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) was on the front foot – I think we were the first country in the world to actually develop drone rules and regulations 20 years ago,” he said.

“So, I think this will really fast-track delivery in Australia.”

“If this is happening at scale quickly with a big company like Matternet, it will certainly have an impact here in Australia and it will fast-track things and perhaps we’ll adopt some of the methodologies and rules that have been put in place to govern this type of operation.”


After regulation it’s basically blue sky 

Caska said there’s an international body called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) who set the standard, and then it’s up to different industry bodies, FAA, CASA etc, to develop those regulations around it. 

But once a company has that competitive edge with regulators – like Matternet – the opportunities really are endless.

“That’s a big hurdle and once you can overcome that, really, you almost have a blue sky solution for the company,” he said.

“Also the ability to scale fast and having patents or IP protection on your technologies is important as well.”


Aussie stocks ready to accelerate roll-out

Elsight non-executive director Howard Digby says this is big news for the industry and opens the way for others to achieve this certification and accelerate roll-out plans.

“This is an exciting development for the industry as a whole, but especially for Parcel Delivery focused operations given the nature of this first Type Certificate (TC) application,” he said.

Didgby stressed that this first TC is NOT an endorsement of which technology is better or best, and really is a boost for the industry as a whole, since the main hold-up for TC approvals was not really due to the technology itself or the nature of the applications in front of the FAA – it was driven by the regulator itself writing the rulebook in real time.

“We see the issue of the first TC as an event that will turbocharge the industry as a whole, opening the floodgates for the expansion of drone delivery operations as more players are awarded Type Certificates and do not just have to rely on waivers,” Digby said.

The company’s Halo platform is an essential component allowing safe and secure Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operation for drone deliveries, and it partners with nascent Parcel Delivery Players such as Droneup, which is running the massive Wallmart Delivery rollout.

Not to mention, Droneup chief technology officer John Vernon just snagged a spot on the FAA’s BVLOS Aviation Rule Making Committee (ARC) to participate in the development of beyond line-of-sight drone flights.


Here’s how ASX listed drone stocks are tracking today:

Code Company Price % Year % Six Month % Month % Week Market Cap
SOR Strategic Elements 0.1575 -58% -15% -2% 5% $60,586,383.11
XTE Xtek Limited 0.385 8% 67% 0% 4% $38,738,793.94
3DP Pointerra Limited 0.22 -43% -19% -4% 0% $149,117,364.88
OEC Orbital Corp Limited 0.2 -69% -22% -2% 0% $17,289,371.86
UUV UUV Aquabotix Ltd 0.04 0% 0% 0% 0% $4,836,132.84
ELS Elsight Ltd 0.375 -20% -12% 4% -1% $56,369,842.88
DRO Droneshield Limited 0.1725 -18% 1% -18% -4% $73,532,137.45
DLT Delta Drone Intl Ltd 0.015 -44% -21% 7% -6% $4,498,294.50
CDA Codan Limited 6.19 -57% -12% -28% -11% $1,105,125,373.40
MOB Mobilicom Ltd 0.015 -69% -70% -61% -25% $19,969,194.99
EOS Electro Optic Sys. 0.505 -87% -69% -50% -30% $78,519,823.68
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 At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Elsight is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.