Blood Samples Delivered by UPS Drones Across North Carolina

Blood Samples Delivered by UPS Drones Across North Carolina

Image by Harald Landsrath from Pixabay

Medical samples are vital elements in many hospitals. Their transport, however, gets complicated when the amount of blood or tissue samples increases. UPS recently decided to tackle this problem.

The company started to move medical specimens with unmanned drones. So, the futuristic idea about drone deliveries for various industries just got real. Their drone-delivery scheme will carry samples to hospital systems in the North Carolina area.

Who’s in Charge of the Deliveries?

UPS partnered with a drone logistics startup, Matternet, to shuttle blood samples and medical supplies to three hospitals and WakeMed facilities in the North Carolina area. WakeMed is a health services provider in the area. Up until now, they transported the medical items with courier cars.

According to Fortune’s article, UPS stated that “The addition of drone transport provides an option for on-demand and same-day delivery, the ability to avoid roadway delays, increase medical delivery efficiency, lower costs and improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.”

The project is a pilot program of the Federal Aviation Administration. They launched in 2018 to use drones for practical applications and to see if it will reduce costs in deliveries. In addition to Matternet and UPS, drone flights are monitored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

How Long It Takes for a Drone to Deliver Blood Samples?

As stated by Wired, Matternet’s M2 Quadcopter drone “can carry payloads of about 5 pounds for 12.5 miles on each battery charge. It can complete a flight in about three minutes, versus the 30 or so it takes human drivers to make it in average daily traffic”.

WakeMed employees will load the drones with the samples to send them to WakeMed’s labs. Remote drone pilots will monitor each flight to see if the drone’s mission went well.

Blood samples delivered by UPS drones should reduce costs and speed up the delivery time to enhance the medical service across the US.

Bianca Van der Watt

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