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Drones Are Being Used To Deliver Lab Samples In Swiss Hospitals

swiss post drones deliver hospitals samples

Drone manufacturers are starting to build UAVs not just to entertain, but to help. DJI has made headlines this year with their rescue mission Matrice M200 drone series, while last year, drones helped deliver medicine in Rwanda and in 2014, they were used to transport dummy samples to remote villages. Now, two hospitals are using drones to deliver lab samples in Lugano, Switzerland #actionmagic

After dozens of tests, two Swiss hospitals have decided to give their vote of confidence to the autonomous aerial vehicles and put them in charge of transporting laboratory samples. It’s the first time drones are used commercially in this kind of mission in an urban area. Usually, companies have trouble getting clearance for urban drone delivery since civilian injury is a real risk.

That said, logistics company Swiss Post worked with FOCA (Federal Office of Civil Aviation) to establish a safe route for flight. Once the company was given a green light, plans for developing a regular service began. Now, they believe the system can be up and running until 2018.

Trained hospital staff will launch and land the drones. They will use a smartphone application to set the drones’ routes, then supervise their autonomous flight. At the target hospital, other employees will be ready to receive the samples.

The drone manufacturer is American company Matternet. The drones developed to deliver packages have a range of 20 kilometers, can carry up to two kilograms and fly at a top speed of 36 km/h. Each drone is equipped with infrared sensors meant to keep the UAV on the right track and balanced during takeoff and landing.

Everything should go right, since the samples are very lightweight. Nevertheless, if something is amiss, the drones can land safely thanks to built-in parachutes.

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