UPS: paving the way with drone technology

By Georgia Wilson
With digital transformation and innovation being the buzz words of the year, leading logistics company, UPS has been trailing drone technology. Last mo...

With digital transformation and innovation being the buzz words of the year, leading logistics company, UPS has been trailing drone technology. 

Last month, UPS Flight Forward - a subsidiary of UPS - received its first full Part 135 Standard certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) to operate a drone airline. As part of its expansion into drone delivery services, UPS aims to further support hospital campuses across the country to transport multiple items to a range of industry customers. “This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” commented David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers.” 

In a recent announcement, UPS Flight Forward has announced further developments in relation to its drone delivery trials. In partnership with CVS Health Corporation, UPS has successfully completed its first and second revenue-generating drone deliveries of medical prescriptions straight to a residential home as well as a retirement community, using the M2 drone system by Matternet.

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“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.”  

Since launching its drone services in March 2019 for WakeMed Hospital (Raleigh, NC), UPS Flight Forward and Matternet have completed over 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries. However, the company’s latest milestone marks its first steps for expansion beyond supporting campus deliveries into residential deliveries. 

“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.”

Did you know? FedEx alongside Wing Aviation are also trialing drone delivery services

For more information on all topics for Procurement, Supply Chain & Logistics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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Image source: UPS

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