First Commercial Drone Medical Delivery

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Medicine, STAT!

Matternet is a U. S.-based company promoting its mission to, “Make access to goods as frictionless and universal as access to information.  Our products enable organizations around the world to build and operate drone logistics networks for transporting goods on demand, through the air, at a fraction of the time, cost and energy of any other transportation method used today. “ On March 27, it announced a collaboration with United Parcel Service (UPS) that delivered the first commercial medical payload at the WakeMed medical facility in North Carolina.

Other non-commercial operations by Zipline, operating in Rwanda and Gambia; and  Swoop Aero, Ltd. and Wingcopter delivering vaccines in the South Pacific, are bringing “last mile” delivery of medical goods and services to remote locations.

The Hustle, an on-line news source (we go to no ends to find the latest intelligence), reports, “By working closely with regulators, UPS became the first fully operational, revenue-generating drone delivery service, beating competitors including Amazon, FedEx, and Uber that have tested delivery drones.”

UPS and Matternet can reduce “sensitive medical deliveries (such as lifesaving organs or blood)” from 30 minutes in traffic to three minutes, an extremely crucial 27-minute saving in emergency situations.

This kind of  necessary function certainly over-rides the need to get your DVDs from Amazon or your pizza from Dominos, both entities seeking OKs for drone delivery.  10 medical deliveries a day will help WakeMed  patients survive more than a sudden pepperoni Jones.  UPS might even increase the frequency of flights at WakeMed.  This gets a bit complicated because approvals have to come from the FAA and the  North Carolina Department of Transportation.

A Matter of Matternet

Matternet started with the idea of providing “last mile” delivery of medical supplies in Africa, but added missions for the Swiss Postal Service and permanent healthcare operations in Switzerland.  Now that the systems are well tested,  Boeing ‘s Horizon X has helped add $16 million in funding for Matternet’s expansion in the U. S. and globally.  Sony’s Innovation Fund, the Swiss Post and Levitate Capital were

Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures explains, “Between the company’s success in Switzerland and being selected by the FAA to test unmanned aerial networks in the U.S., we are excited to work together to reimagine how the world connects and shape the next generation of transportation solutions.”

Matternet drone delivers coffee to Mercedes rooftop in Swiss demonstration two years ago

Matternet’s  founder and CEO Andreas Raptopoulos echoes the sentiment.  “We are excited to partner with Boeing, the pioneers of safe commercial aviation, to make this new mode of transport mainstream.  . As we expand Matternet’s U.S. and global operations, we will work with Boeing to make next-generation aerial logistics networks a reality and transform our everyday lives.“

Matternet is exploring greater permissions to fly over urban areas and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), areas showing great confidence in its ability to delivery even the most precious payloads safely.

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