Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration released its long-awaited regulations for the routine use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The new rules cleared the way for a number of new applications for commercial drone use, including disaster relief and emergency medical supply delivery.
Following on the heels of the FAA’s announcement, the United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) said Friday that it began testing the use of drones for emergency deliveries of medical supplies in the Boston area. UPS plans to work closely with FAA regulators to ensure the safe use of drones for commercial deliveries.
“Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability. “We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of transportation are not readily available.”
UPS teamed up with CyPhy Works, a Danvers, Massachusetts based drone company, to conduct a mock delivery of medical supplies from Beverly, Mass. to Children’s Island, the location of a children’s day camp. The CyPhy drone succeeded in transporting an asthma inhaler to a child on the island, which cannot be accessed by automobile.
The battery-powered drone was autonomous and had no pilot.
“We’re thrilled to partner with UPS in this endeavor,” said Helen Greiner, CyPhy’s founder and chief technology officer. “Drone technology used in this way can save lives and deliver products and services to places that are difficult to reach by traditional transit infrastructures.”
UPS also plans to explore the use of drones to deliver humanitarian aid in difficult-to-access locations of the world.