UPS and CVS are flying their drones to Florida, where the country’s largest retirement community will soon receive prescription medicine deliveries via Matternet’s M2 UAV.
During this global health crisis, the United Parcel Service’s Flight Forward (UPSFF) subsidiary aims to distribute time- and temperature-sensitive drugs while following social distancing efforts and protecting healthcare workers. Starting next month, residents of The Villages in central Florida can receive same-day delivery from a local CVS pharmacy.
“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,” Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, said in a statement. “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.”
UPS last fall received government approval to run a drone airline: The shipping company can fly pilotless aerial vehicles beyond human operators’ visual line of sight—day or night. Two months later, UPSFF successfully completed its first medical deliveries in North Carolina.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that our customers have access to their prescriptions,” according to Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer at CVS Health. “In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services, and drive-through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers.”
Service to The Villages begins in early May, and is expected to continue through the pandemic; officials will “explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period,” a UPS press release said. The operation may also expand to include two additional CVS pharmacies in the area.