UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward has just completed what it believes to be a first for the US drone delivery market – prescription drug delivery directly to the customer's home. The company comes on November 1 flew the medicine from a pharmacy in North Carolina to a home before a second delivery to a nearby retirement community. The deliveries were made in collaboration with CVS Pharmacy, as well as Matternet, a drone logistics company.
The flight was made autonomous, but was monitored by an external operator who took over if the drone encountered problems. When it arrived, the Matternet M2 drone hovered 20 feet above the property, before its package was slowly lowered via a cable. The hope is that drone deliveries such as these will make it easier for clients with limited mobility to receive their medication in the future.
These are not the first drone deliveries made in the US, nor are they even the first of UPS specific. Google offshoot Wing launched its own drone delivery service in Virginia last month that supplies self-care medicines and other health and wellness items, and UPS has also had a drone delivery pilot at WakeMed Hospital in North Carolina since March, where it says it has now made 1,500 deliveries . What's new is that the UPS Flight Forward service includes prescription drugs and flies them directly to homes.
The reason for the relatively slow progress of drone deliveries has a lot to do with regulations that prevent companies from flying drones outside the direct line of sight of an operator or at night without proper FAA authorization. UPS received approval for its & # 39; drone airline & # 39; to operate while Wing has earned his approval back in April. Now that both companies have received FAA approval, it is much easier for them to gain experience in delivering drones to real-world customers.