UPS Launches U.S. Drone Test Flights for Urgent Medical Deliveries
Earlier this year the company announced it was backing a startup using drones in Rwanda to transport life-saving blood supplies and vaccines.
United Parcel Service Inc. said it began testing the use of drones for emergency deliveries of medical supplies this week with a flight in rural Massachusetts, which the company hopes will eventually lead to federal approval of drones as a regular delivery option.
The test flight on Thursday was handled by CyPhy, a Danvers, Massachusetts-based drone maker in which UPS, the world's largest package delivery company, owns a stake.
The drone delivered a small package from Beverly, located about 25 miles northeast of Boston, to Children's Island, a summer camp for children three miles off the Atlantic coast.
The drone, painted brown and with a UPS logo on the front, made the journey in about 8 minutes.
"This demonstrates a drone is the best and most efficient way to deliver a package in a medical emergency in a remote location," Helen Greiner, chief technology officer and founder of CyPhy, told Reuters.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month published rules that restrict the use of drones to within the line of sight of the operator.
Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering, said the company hopes to persuade the FAA to allow UPS to expand on its tests and eventually offer emergency deliveries by drone as part of its services.
Earlier this year UPS announced it was backing a startup using drones in Rwanda to transport life-saving blood supplies and vaccines.
Drones are seen as having great potential to deliver packages, once FAA concerns over safety have been addressed.
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. has been testing drones in the United Kingdom, Canada and Denmark, while Wal-Mart Stores has been using them to manage inventory at warehouses.
(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
James Dyson Created 5,127 Versions of a Product That Failed Before Finally Succeeding. His Tenacity Reveals a Secret of Entrepreneurship.
7 Meaningful Ways Your Business Can Honor Memorial Day
Breast Implants Left This Founder With Debilitating Symptoms, So She Launched an Intimate-Apparel Line That Goes Beyond Buzzwords
Kids in the Hall's Bruce McCulloch Says TikTok Is the New Punk Rock
'I Am Not a Diversity Quota,' Says the Founder Disrupting the Dessert Category
Memorial Day Is a Time for Remembrance, So What's With All the Mattress Sales?
Pharrell Williams, Contemporary Artist Nina Chanel Abney and Brand-Builder Shaun Neff Announce Launch of Game-Changing NFT Platform