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United Parcel Service (UPS), in partnership with drone company Matternet, has made its first commercial drone delivery: a medical sample between hospitals.

The short flight took place in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday 26th March, using a remote-controlled quadcopter that can carry a 5lb payload and travel up to 12 miles.

It’s part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Integration Pilot Program for safe drone use, which sees state and local governments working with the private sector.

UPS will make multiple daily flights for the WakeMed Health & Hospitals network. The drones take less time to make the journey than the vehicles normally used by the company.

The venture is part of a push by UPS CEO David Abney into healthcare product deliveries, boosting UPS’ business shipments.

It's not the company's first foray into drones. Three years ago, UPS teamed up with drone company Zipline to deliver blood, vaccines and medical supplies across Rwanda.

Source: Bloomberg

Header image: UPS

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