UPS completes the first commercial drone delivery in the US

Laverne Higgins
November 7, 2019

To date, UPS Flight Forward and Matternet have finished a lot more than one, 500 revenue-producing drone deliveries. The drones flew autonomously and lowered the packages to the ground with a cable and winch, although there was a human operator ready to take control. The flights also demonstrate exactly how revenue can be earned with drone deliveries, which is key to the success of UPS' new Flight Forward drone division. The deliveries bundled a drone shipping and delivery from a CVS pharmacy specifically to a consumer's house, and yet another supply of prescription prescription drugs to a unique buyer in a nearby retirement group.

Package carrier UPS and pharmacy company CVS on November 5 said they completed the first money-making deliveries of medical prescriptions to customers by drone. A month later, CVS announced that it had become the first retail health care company to work with UPS to explore the use of drones for deliveries. "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".

It's not exactly a booming business with just two deliveries.

In October, Alphabet's Wing unit, an offshoot of Google, and partners Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and FedEx began drone deliveries from store to customer homes in Christiansburg, Va.

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'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. "We are delighted to make new services that will shatter preconceived notions of how, when and where by merchandise can be sent".

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 United Parcel Service previously partnered with Matternet to operate daily UAV flights at WakeMed's hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C.

While private industry, particularly e-commerce companies like Amazon, have been eager to deploy drone technology for last-mile delivery, rules and regulations have kept the pace of commercial adoption and usage to a minimum.

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