UPS announced that it joined forces with drone startup Matternet and began using drones to deliver medical samples to the WakeMed Health & Hospitals in North Carolina.
The drones are still in their test phase and are part of a pilot program that was launched by the Federal Aviation Administration back in August. The program aims to test the practical applications of drones and analyze if they can be safely used for deliveries.
During the pilot program, the WakeMed employees load the drones with samples and send them towards the pathology labs, all under the careful watch of remote drone pilots.
“Currently, the majority of medical samples and specimens are transported across WakeMed’s expanding health system by courier cars.” UPS said in a press release “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.”
This is not the first time UPS has entered such a project though: the company has worked alongside Zipline and GAVI to deliver blood products in remote locations in Rwanda.
On the other hand, the Matternet team has also kept busy: the company completed over 3000 flights for healthcare systems in Switzerland.