UPS averages around 19 million daily shipments, let that settle for second. As if that wasn’t enough, they are now teaming up with a delivery drone startup company (Matternet) to help deliver medical supplies. Starting very soon, Matternet’s M2 quadcopters will be delivering supplies to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The quadcopters are capable of carrying payloads of up to five pounds over distances of up to 12.5 miles. Of course, this delivery program will be overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. This whole project will start out small and continue to evolve and grow with signs of potential.
Here’s how the companies describe the delivery program:
“Throughout the WakeMed program, a medical professional will load a secure drone container with a medical sample or specimen – such as a blood sample – at one of WakeMed’s nearby facilities. The drone will fly along a predetermined flight path, monitored by a specially trained Remote Pilot-in-Command (RPIC), to a fixed landing pad at WakeMed’s main hospital and central pathology lab. This will be an ongoing program at WakeMed, and UPS and Matternet will use the learnings to consider how drones can be applied to improve transport services at other hospitals and medical facilities across the U.S”.
Many tech moguls and CEO’s are worried about the skies being filled with package-bearing quadcopters but the experiment is still in the early stages. Air space regulations are creating quite the hurdle for most companies trying to launch commercial services. Regulators are still debating on allowing companies like Matternet to operate drones beyond a pilot’s visual ling of sight, at night, and over heavily populated areas.