UPS to transport medical samples via drone in the US

UPS Begins Using Drones to Transport Medical Samples at North Carolina Hospitals

Today, most medical samples and specimens at WakeMed are transported across the health system's campus by courier cars.

UPS said Tuesday it is rolling out a new drone delivery service for medical samples in an effort to improve the efficiency of hospitals around the world.

UPS said in a statement.

UPS has partnered with unmanned drone company Matternet to deliver medical samples throughout a hospital in North Carolina.

UPS will make at least 10 drone deliveries per day across WakeMed's campus, and it could increase its flight frequency down the road.

UPS has teamed up with drone specialists Matternet for the first FAA-sanctioned use of drones to transport products.

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The drone features a "secure drone container" in which a medical professional loads a medical specimen or sample, which could include blood. UPS and Matternet will manage the remote monitoring of the drone flights. Loaded at a WakeMed facility, the drones will follow a predetermined flight path, monitored by a remote operator, before landing at a fixed landing pad at the main hospital.

Deliveries will be made by Matternet's M2 quadcopter, which will carry medical payloads- such as a blood sample- of up to 5 Ibs. over distances of 12.5 miles. UPS expects to use the experience gained with WakeMed to offer similar services to other US hospitals.

But last May, the Department of Transportation took a major step in better regulating the commercial use of drones, announcing that 10 state, local, and tribal governments were approved to work with private corporations to test drone technology.

Domino's, Amazon, and numerous world's biggest companies have been drooling over the prospect of delivery drones for several years now, but regulators have been strict about greenlighting drone projects.

Ganesh said UPS, which already has a robust medical-supply-chain network, was chiefly interested in the healthcare applications of drones.

"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", according to Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos.

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