Medical Supply Delivery with Drones


UPS and Matternet have team up together to run the first ever FAA-permitted commercial drone service to deliver medical samples in North Carolina. Upto 10 drone delivery flights on daily basis can be made by the Matternet M2 drone at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in the Raleigh, N.C. The project is a segment of the UAS Integration Pilot Program and is being supervised by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Delivery of Medical Supplies by Drones

The crowded urban environments witness transportation of a humongous amount of medical supplies on daily basis. It is quite evident how much faster and with minimal impact on the environment these small and lightweight parcels can be delivered thanks to drones.UPA and Matternet have collaborated to run this FAA approved venture in North Carolina which is a part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Packages are being delivered to WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in the Raleigh, N.C.

Matternet M2 quadcopter is being employed to make the deliveries as the drone has the ability to fly for 12.5 miles while carrying a payload of upto 5 pounds on a single battery charge. Typically a drone delivery flight takes about 3 minutes in contrast to 30 minutes that could be taken by a man to pull off the delivery.The drone flights are fully automated and are being monitored by a remote pilot who can intervene as and when required. The drones take off and land at specially designated landing platforms.

Presently, 10 flights per day are being completed by the drone service and this number is likely to increase with the passage of time. The medical supplies are kept in a locked compartment just beneath the drone.We have been reporting about Matternet recently. They have been extensively testing with deliveries by drone in Zurich,


Switzerland and have been able to pull of more than 3,000 successful flights. UPS has teamed up with Zipline in the past to deliver blood samples to far flung areas in Rawanda.

The FAA sanctioned Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) will run for three years and has been been engineered to employ drones for commercial purposes by collaborating with local authorities as well as private enterprises to figure out the best possible ways to mainstream drones into airspace and our daily lives. FAA, NCDOT, UPS, Matternet and WakeMed are the five partners taking part in the FAA’s UAS IPP program.

UPS Global Smart Logistics Network is looking forward to expand its healthcare support operations. Healthcare and life science logistics is an important part of the UPS’s transformation strategy as the company is building new partnetships and technologies to offer enhanced patient care with high quality logistics and supply chain.This partnership is the latest UPS program to employ drone flights in support of healthcare logistics. In 2016, UPS collaborated with Zipline and GAVI to deliver blood products to far flung locations in Rawanda. More than 3,000 successful flights have been completed by Matternet in Switzerland.

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