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UPS and CVS make first residential drone prescription deliveries in Cary

The drone hovered about 20 feet over the properties and slowly lowered the packages by a cable and a winch to the ground.

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UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward Inc (UPSFF) and CVS Health Corporation subsidiary CVS Pharmacy, Inc have completed the first drone delivery of a medical prescription from a CVS pharmacy directly to a consumer’s home.

 

This was followed by another delivery of a medical prescription to a second customer in a nearby retirement community. Both flights used the M2 drone system by UPS partner and drone systems developer Matternet.

 

The drones flew autonomously but were monitored by a remote operator.

 

The drone hovered about 20 feet over the properties and slowly lowered the packages by a cable and a winch to the ground. One of the packages was delivered to a CVS customer whose limited mobility makes it difficult to travel to a store to pick up a prescription.

 

Demonstrating what’s possible

 

“This drone delivery, the first of its kind in the industry, demonstrates what’s possible for our customers who can’t easily make it into our stores,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy. “CVS is exploring many types of delivery options for urban, suburban and rural markets. We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times cannot conveniently access one of our stores.”

"This drone delivery, the first of its kind in the industry, demonstrates what’s possible for our customers who can’t easily make it into our stores"

 

The deliveries expand UPSFF’s operations beyond deliveries on hospital campuses.

 

In September, UPSFF became the first company approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a drone airline under a Part 135 Standard certification. It permits the company to collect payment for drone deliveries and to fly as many drones supported by as many operators as necessary to meet customer demand.

 

Expanding to new industries

 

UPS and CVS recently announced a collaboration to develop a variety of drone delivery use cases, including business-to-consumer operating models.

 

“We now have an opportunity to offer different drone delivery solutions, tailored to meet customer needs for speed and convenience,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “Delivering prescriptions by drone directly to homes could greatly improve the patient experience for CVS customers. We’re delighted to build new services that will shatter preconceived notions of how, when and where goods can be delivered.”

 

UPSFF is the first company approved by the US FAA to operate a drone airline

 

UPSFF and Matternet have completed more than 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, NC since launching service there in March 2019. UPSFF is building out its ground infrastructure to enable expansion to several industries.

 

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