Published: Thu, November 07, 2019
Medical | By

Autonomous UPS drones begin prescription home delivery service

Autonomous UPS drones begin prescription home delivery service

"We now have an opportunity to offer different drone-delivery solutions, tailored to meet customer needs for speed and convenience", Scott Price, UPS's chief strategy and transformation officer, said in the statement.

One expected use of drones is to get items to rural areas where traditional deliveries would be costly for companies.

"CVS is exploring many types of delivery options for urban, suburban, and rural markets", he continued.

This isn't the first paid delivery of any kind from UPS.

The flights were conducted autonomously while being monitored by a remote operator who could intervene if necessary, said UPS Flight Forward, the package carrier's drone subsidiary.

UPS last month was granted permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate as a "drone airline", effectively allowing it to conduct business nationwide using drones as delivery vehicles. "We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times can not conveniently access one of our stores".


For the first time on November 1, a UPS-branded quadcopter flew to customers' homes from a CVS store in Cary, North Carolina.

UPS said the unit is working to expand delivery services beyond health care.

Wing, a drone operator owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), is partnering with Walgreens (WBA.O) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N) for a home delivery pilot in Christiansburg, Virginia. Once at the destination, the drone hovered 20 feet over the properties and lowered the packages by cable to the ground. There were two flights in total, both of which began with a UPS employee loading patients' prescriptions onto an M2 drone (pictured) made by Menlo Park, California-based Matternet Inc.

"We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times can not conveniently access one of our stores", said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy.

UPS has focused much of its drone efforts thus far on hospital campuses, building on the success of an ongoing test program in North Carolina.

The deliveries in Cary and at WakeMed were authorized under the FAA's test program, which involves the N.C. Department of Transportation and other companies.

Like this: