Matternet, a drone and information company based in Menlo Park, Calif., teamed up with health-care providers to develop and implement a medical UAV delivery system that could one day operate nationwide. As of March 2017, the company has been authorized by the Swiss government to begin implementing and operating its system over cities. Previously adopted by Doctors Without Borders for use in rural areas, this is the first time that this system will be tested in densely populated areas.
It works by sending drones between loading docks called Matternet Stations. Measuring just two square feet, these stations can be positioned at medicinal facilities so that medical items such as blood and tissue samples can be rapidly transported in time-sensitive situations. The system is connected to a cloud-based communication system so that technicians can be notified when a drone docks, and if needed immediately message results directly to whomever requested them.
“With the Matternet Station, we’re introducing an extremely easy-to-use interface that enables true peer-to-peer drone delivery,” Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos said in a statement. “For health-care systems, an integrated Matternet network means that medical items can be delivered to any hospital facility within 30 minutes. This level of speed and predictability creates substantial opportunities for improved quality of care and operational savings.”