UPS employs drones to transport medical samples
United Parcel Service (UPS), a multinational package delivery and supply chain management company now employs drones to transport medical samples in the US.
The drones employed are quadcopters built by Matternet, a startup that pioneers aerial delivery in urban environments. The drones carry up to 2.3kg (approx. 5 pounds) of cargo across a distance of 20km (12.5miles) on a single charge.
UPS employs drones to transport medical samples in the U.S. – Loading the Matternet Drone with UPS cargo. Photo Credits: UPS
They fly along a path set for the project and although they fly autonomously (without human interference), they are monitored by a human pilot to prevent accidents.
Being in trial phase, deliveries are ongoing only at the WakeMed hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The drones convey medical samples across the campus about 10 times a day and if this trial proves successful, the number of trips will be increased.
Why use drones?
According to this tweet by UPS, drones are being used because they:
– Provide on-demand and same-day delivery
– Eliminate roadway delays
– Increase medical delivery efficiency
– Lower costs and
– Improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.
Although this will be the first time a revenue-generating drone delivery scheme is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, it will not be the first time AI and automation is employed to improve previously manual processes. In this post, we talked about 5 common jobs that will soon be replaced by AI in the coming decade.
Already, Matternet’s drones have been employed to fly blood supplies in Switzerland and Rwanda.
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