UPS has announced that it will be trialling the use of drones to deliver medical supplies in time critical situations. The delivery company has teamed up with drone manufacturer CyPhy Works to test out the possibilities of making deliveries of this kind to hard-to-reach locations.
The companies staged a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine from Beverly, Massachusetts, US to Children’s Island on 22 September. The island lies three miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean. The test saw a self-driving drone fly an asthma inhaler to the island, which is not reachable by automobile. UPS has said that the test was a success.
“Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers,” said Mark Wallace, UPS’ senior vice-president of global engineering and sustainability. “We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of transportation are not readily available.”
The new research has been given the go-ahead after the expansion of drone use in the US into the commercial sector by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). UPS says that it intends to work closely with the FAA in its new venture, but states that the new rulings are ‘a step in the right direction’.
“We’re thrilled to partner with UPS in this endeavour,” said Helen Greiner, CyPhy’s founder and chief technology officer. “Drone technology used in this way can save lives and deliver products and services to places that are difficult to reach by traditional transit infrastructures.”