Now playing
01:06
Your UPS driver may come with a drone
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks with AEI president Arthur C. Brooks during a public conversation on Facebook's work on 'breakthrough innovations that seek to open up the world' at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on June 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Allison Shelley/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
01:23
Hear Sandberg downplay Facebook's role in the Capitol riots
screengrab US social media
screengrab US social media
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
04:35
Tech companies ban Trump, but not other problematic leaders
PHOTO: Samsung
Now playing
01:53
See Samsung's new Galaxy S21 lineup
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:47
Extremists and conspiracy theorists search for new platforms online
PHOTO: Twitter
Now playing
02:39
Twitter permanently suspends Donald Trump from platform
Panasonic
Panasonic's Augmented Reality Heads-up Display
PHOTO: Panasonic USA
Now playing
01:06
This tech gives drivers directions on the road in front of them
PHOTO: LG Display
Now playing
01:10
See LG's transparent TV
PHOTO: Twitter/@gregdoesthings
Now playing
02:06
Internet gets creative with empty iPhone boxes
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 3: The Google logo adorns the outside of their NYC office Google Building 8510 at 85 10th Ave on June 3, 2019 in New York City. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet were down over six percent on Monday, following news reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to launch an anti-trust investigation aimed at Google. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
03:25
Google employee on unionizing: Google can't fire us all
Now playing
02:01
Watch 'deepfake' Queen deliver alternative Christmas speech
Now playing
01:42
Watch father leave daughter dozens of surprise Ring messages
PHOTO: Photo Illustration: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Now playing
04:50
Zoom's founder says he 'let down' customers. Here's why
Now playing
00:48
See Walmart's self-driving delivery trucks in action
Now playing
01:25
This robotaxi from Amazon's Zoox has no reverse function
(CNN Business) —  

UPS is one step closer to making drone deliveries nationwide.

On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it had granted UPS a certificate to operate limited drone delivery services across the United States.

Over the past six months, UPS has already made 1,100 medical sample deliveries at a Raleigh, North Carolina, hospital under a government pilot program. The deliveries travel 150 meters from one hospital location to another. Now UPS plans to expand to more than 20 hospitals over the next two years.

Even so, significant barriers remain before UPS can deliver packages to your home — or make drone deliveries a meaningful business. The FAA is still developing critical rules for drone delivery, including a way for authorities to remotely identify drones.

The Trump administration has taken steps to try to speed the rollout of the technology. In October 2017, the US Department of Transportation announced a limited program to loosen rules and allow more advanced drone tests, including flying over people and at night. The UPS flights in North Carolina are part of those tests, and the FAA must approve all routes.

UPS first announced in March that it would work with Matternet, a drone company, to make deliveries daily between two locations at the WakeMed hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. UPS said it generates revenue from the flights, but declined to provide further details.

The UPS drones fly fully autonomously on pre-programmed routes that a remote human pilot monitors. Companies such as UPS will eventually have to receive government approval to operate flights without human supervision to make drones a viable business.

Wing, the drone delivery arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, was the first company to receive a similar certificate from the government. It’s launching a limited pilot in Christiansburg, Virginia, with Walgreen’s this month. Like UPS, it faces meaningful restrictions to scaling its business.

UPS is already making medical deliveries with drones at a North Carolina hospital.
UPS is already making medical deliveries with drones at a North Carolina hospital.
PHOTO: UPS

UPS’s certificate has fewer limitations, as it has no cap on how many pilots it may use at once, allowing for unlimited flights. Wing is limited to a single pilot, so it can only complete one flight at a time.

More companies are likely to receive certificates as the FAA is processing six applications.

The largest drone delivery operations are happening overseas. Wing is already making deliveries in Australian suburbs. Zipline, a Silicon Valley drone startup, says it’s made more than 20,000 deliveries of medical supplies in Rwanda and Ghana, and is expanding into India.