UPS Flight Forward, CVS to deliver medicines to retirement community in Florida using drones
UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward’s (UPSFF) Matternet’s M2 drone will be used to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida.
April 29, 2020: UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward’s (UPSFF) Matternet’s M2 drone will be used to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida for the largest U.S. retirement community, home to more than 135,000 residents. This program can also help prioritise the protection of our healthcare heroes.
UPS and CVS Health Corporation last year announced plans to jointly explore the use of drone delivery. The companies successfully completed their first drone deliveries of medical prescriptions from a CVS pharmacy in Cary in November 2019.
“Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “UPS is committed to playing its part in fighting the spread of Coronavirus, and this is another way we can support our healthcare customers and individuals with innovative solutions.”
Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CVS Health said, “In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services and drive through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach high-risk customers.”
The new service in The Villages in central Florida begins in early May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 rules, with authority to operate through the pandemic and explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period. The operation could expand to include deliveries from two additional CVS pharmacies in the area.
The first flights will be less than one half mile and be delivered to a location near the retirement community. Initially, a ground vehicle will complete the delivery to the resident’s door.
Last year, UPS and Matternet initiated the first ongoing revenue-generating drone delivery service at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, completing more than 3,700 flights to date. UPS also established UPS Flight Forward in June 2019, which later earned the Federal Aviation Administration’s Standard Part 135 Air Carrier certification to operate a drone air carrier in September 2019. The companies later initiated service at the University of California San Diego Health system, also under the FAA’s Part 107 rules.
UPS Flight Forward has been exploring prospects for supporting the healthcare industry’s fight to stop the spread of coronavirus. In April, the company announced its participation in tests in Virginia with the US government and partners to determine how unmanned aerial systems can assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of the virus.