With the ability to gather real time data cost effectively, military, industrial, commercial, and recreational drone applications have proliferated in the last decade. Medical drone applications have, until recently, not kept pace with developments in other sectors.
Recently, however, UPS’s Flight Forward subsidiary received FAA Part 136 Standard Certification to operate a drone airline using Matternet’s technology to expand on-demand drone delivery operations to hospitals around the country.
“We founded Matternet with the belief that we must create a new layer of transportation, using networks of drones for delivering urgent items on-demand at a fraction of the time, cost and ecological footprint of any other transportation method,” said Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos. “Our technology has the power to transform healthcare and the world of logistics at large. Today’s announcement is bringing us one step closer to this reality.”
The Matternet M2 drone logistics system, comprised of the Matternet M2 drone and the Matternet Cloud Platform, is the first system to be authorized by the FAA for use under Part 135 Standard certification. The drone system was evaluated and validated by the FAA as meeting the safety requirements for use with an air carrier certificate. The Matternet M2 system is capable of transporting packages of up to five pounds across distances of up to 12.5 miles in operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and over people.
Matternet is revolutionizing healthcare logistics in the US and internationally by establishing a new mode of on-demand transportation. Through the use of drone delivery networks, Matternet’s technology allows hospital systems to transport medical items at an unprecedented level of speed and predictability, resulting in improved patient care and strong operational savings. Earlier this year, Matternet and UPS launched a healthcare delivery service at WakeMed and have completed more than 1,000 deliveries.
In 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to be authorized for full operations of drone logistics networks over densely populated areas in Switzerland and in 2018 the firm was chosen to carry out drone logistics operations for US hospitals under the FAA’s drone integration program. In March 2019, Matternet and UPS announced a partnership to provide drone delivery services to US healthcare systems, starting from WakeMed Health in NC and expanding nationally.