UPS just beat out Amazon, FedEx, and Uber to make America’s first revenue-generating drone delivery

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  • UPS, in partnership with the drone technology company Matternet, on Tuesday began its daily drone delivery of medical supplies in WakeMed’s campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • The drone delivery cut the transport time of crucial medical samples from about half an hour to just over three minutes.
  • It was the first revenue-generating drone delivery and is the first commercial application of the much-hyped and highly regulated technology.
  • UPS is part of a public-private US Department of Transportation drone-testing program started last spring. Amazon, which has made highly publicized moves into drone testing, was not includedin the program.

Moving medical samples around WakeMed’s sprawling medical campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, can sometimes take up to 30 minutes in traffic. That can be challenging when the material being moved is a life-saving specimen like blood or an organ sample.

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But drone delivery has cut that commute to three minutes and 15 seconds.

UPS, in collaboration with the drone technology company Matternet, made its first revenue-generating delivery of medical samples at WakeMed Raleigh on Tuesday. The Federal Aviation Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation provided oversight.

It’s a major step for proving the worthiness of the highly regulated and much-hyped technology.


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