Matternet’s M2 drone system is enabling the new hospital delivery network, in collaboration with UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF). “The service will use a hub-and-spoke routing model to provide rapid delivery of time-and temperature-sensitive medicines and supplies, including PPE for medical professionals treating COVID-19 patients,” says a Matternet press release.
The Matternet solution is an elegant piece of hardware that enables a smooth workflow: UPS has spent decades in perfecting delivery operations. The hospital operation demonstrates major efficiencies – and could represent a new way of doing business for hospital networks in the U.S.
“Matternet and UPSFF today started operating on two routes from one location at Wake Forest Baptist Health to two other health system locations, marking one of the first hub-and-spoke operating models for the U.S. drone delivery industry,” says the release. “One route will transport scheduled deliveries of specialty infusion medicines. These medicines are patient-specific, high-cost and have a short shelf-life, making delivery by drone within minutes an ideal solution. The second route will transport on-demand supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks for medical professionals in their fight against COVID-19.”
“Increasing efficiency of our supply chain routes helps provide better service to our patients and their families,” said Conrad Emmerich, chief supply chain officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health. “Partnering with UPS Flight Forward through our iQ Healthtech Labs opens new doors for us to do just that through drone delivery.”
“Now more than ever it’s important for hospitals to have reliable, predictable and efficient methods for transporting critical medicines and time-sensitive lab samples that need results quickly,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with UPSFF to other U.S. hospitals and work with Wake Forest Baptist to implement our drone logistics network that will help transform their operations and patient care.”
UPSFF received one of the first Part 135 certifications in the U.S. last year, enabling them to operate a revenue generating drone delivery busienss. Partnering with drone delivery experts Matternet, the two launched the commercial operation in North Carolina, working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation as part of the FAA’s Integration Pilot Program. “Since then, more than 2,200 deliveries (4,400 flights) of lab samples have been completed,” says the release.
UPS and Matternet are also working together in Florida to provide contact-free delivery of prescription medicines to residents of a retirement community. Especially critical in the current COVID-19 crisis, the technology demonstrates a safe, viable and convenient alternative to in-person shopping.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.