Unmanned drone deliveries are making their way inside the UPS network. Thanks to a partnership with drone startup Matternet, UPS will start delivering medical samples via unmanned drones at WakeMed’s hospital in Raleigh, N.C.
With the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration and North Carolina’s department of transportation, UPS and Matternet will conduct routine daily flights that transport medical samples. Previously, WakeMed relied on courier cars, which were subject to road delays.
The drone-led deliveries entail a medical professional first loading the drone with a medical sample or specimen, such as a blood sample. From there, the drone will fly along a predetermined route to a fixed landing pad at WakeMed’s main hospital and central pathology lab.
UPS and Matternet will then be able to analyze the program and better determine how drones can be more broadly used to improve deliveries at other hospitals throughout the country. UPS previously partnered with Zipline to test medical deliveries via drone in remote communities.
“We believe unmanned aerial systems could better serve customer needs and provide opportunities for network improvements that generate efficiencies and enable us to grow our business,” UPS VP of Advanced Technology Group Bala Ganesh said in a statement.