UPS is launching drones to carry medical samples to their destination in North Carolina in first of its kind delivery system
- A drone will regularly deliver medical samples at a campus in North Carolina
- Will fly as much as 12.8 miles at a time, will be first regular commercial use in US
- Laws governing drones have been slow to evolve despite widespread interest
UPS will leverage drones to deliver medical samples in the first FAA-backed and continuous commercial deployment of drone technology in America.
According to UPS, an autonomous drone, the” Matternet’s M2 quadcopter”, will travel between locations at WakeMed’s campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, flying distances of up to 12.8 miles along a fixed, pre-determined route. Currently, the samples are delivered on the ground via courier cars, says UPS, making the shipments susceptible to road traffic. The use of drones will both increase efficiency and lower costs, the company says.
Despite regulators methodical approach, interest continues to percolate. According to a report from Forbes, the number of FAA certified drone pilots last year grew 50 percent over 2017, totaling 115,000. Also among the major roadblocks for the future of commercial drone deployment are a web of privacy issues that could lead to no-fly zones over private property. Already, a patchwork of state and local laws limit unmanned and manned aerial vehicles’ ability to fly within certain zones.