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UPS is using drones to transport medical supplies between hospitals

UPS is partnering with autonomous drone company Matternet and hospital WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The drone delivery service aims to replace WakeMed’s reliance on a fleet of courier cars, which currently transports most of the hospitals medical samples.

UPS is teaming up with autonomous delivery drone startup Matternet to experiment with using drones to deliver medical supplies, the companies announced on Tuesday. Starting today, the supplies will be delivered via Matternet’s M2 quadcopters to WakeMed hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The partnership with autonomous drone company Matternet and hospital WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina represents an expansion of a test program begun in August under the supervision of North Carolina’s transportation department. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also overseeing the program.

UPS said the service will utilize Matternet’s M2 “quadcopter” drone, which can carry medical samples of up to 5 pounds as far as 12.5 miles.

Matternet has completed “more than 3,000 flights for healthcare systems in Switzerland,” UPS added. The WakeMed program is also under the FAA’s broader effort called the “Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program,” which “aims to test practical applications of drones by partnering local governments with private sector companies.”

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