UPS starts medical sample drone deliveries

UPS and drone delivery specialist Matternet are working together on a medical sample drone delivery programme.

The drone deliveries are to take place at the Raleigh, NC WakeMed hospital. Oversight is by the FAA and North Carolina Department for Transportation.

The drone deliveries are to replace cars that drive across the WakeMed estate.

Donald Gintzig, WakeMed President and CEO said: “Drone transport will improve speed of deliveries at a lower cost, enhance access to care and create healthier communities. WakeMed is committed to innovation, and we believe drone technology has the potential to achieve transformative improvements in health and health care delivery.”

The addition of drone transport provides an option for on-demand and same-day delivery, the ability to avoid roadway delays, increase medical delivery efficiency, lower costs and improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.

The programme will utilise Matternet’s M2 quadcopter, which is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and can carry medical payloads weighing up to about 5 lbs. over distances of up to 12.5 miles.

Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO Matternet said: “Together with UPS, we aim to shift the status quo for on-demand logistics for healthcare systems in the U.S. through drone delivery networks. Our technology allows hospital systems to transport medical items at an unprecedented level of speed and predictability, resulting in improved patient care and operational savings. We are excited to work with our partners to breathe new life into healthcare logistics, and help establish a new layer of ultra-fast, predictable transportation.”

Bala Ganesh, UPS Vice President, Advanced Technology Group said: “We believe unmanned aerial systems could better serve customer needs and provide opportunities for network improvements that generate efficiencies and enable us to grow our business.”

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