UPS Now Using Drones to Transport Medical Supplies
On Tuesday, March 26th, UPS announced that they will be delivering medical supplies in North Carolina using drones. UPS has teamed up with Matternet, an autonomous delivery drone company, to test the process of using drones to make deliveries. The project is being moderated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDT).
The program was launched last August by the FAA in an attempt to analyze the applications of drones and how they can reduce costs and accelerate deliveries. Through the WakeMed program at WakeMed hospital in Raleigh NC, medical staff will store a drone with, a package containing samples or specimens.
While flying along a fixed path, the drone will be monitored by a Remote Pilot-in-Command (RPIC) before securing itself to a landing pad at WakeMed’s main hospital. At the moment, Matternet’s M2 quadcopter is stocked with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and can carry up to five pounds over a distance of up to 12.5 miles.
UPS wants to further pursue using drones to deliver medicinal products. They plan to succeed WakeMed’s current system using courier cars, which deliver most of the hospital’s medical samples. UPS believes that “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.”