UPS announces a drone logistics project with Kaiser Permanente, a U.S. healthcare provider and nonprofit health plan. The pilot is meant to explore ways UPS Flight Forward coulld help transport healthcare supplies between buildings at Kaiser Permanente medical campuses in its 39-hospital network.
The project will determine the extent to which drone transportation on Kaiser Permanente hospital campuses will provide opportunities to avoid roadway delays, increase medical distribution efficiency, lower costs, and improve the patient experience.
Kaiser Permanente has approximately 12.2 million plan members across eight states and the District of Columbia. The organization’s goal is to continually deploy technology to connect care teams, including primary care doctors, specialists, nurses, lab and radiology technicians, pharmacists, and therapists—enabling collaboration and coordinated care for faster diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
In March, UPS and Matternet announced the first FAA-sanctioned use of a drone for routine flights under a contractual delivery agreement. The program is expanding to University of Utah Health in Q4 2019. UPS was granted permission in September by the FAA to operate commercial drone flights through its business unit, UPS Flight Forward. This is meant to allow commercial revenue-generating drone flights, and be an important distinction as UPS and Matternet continue to build out drone operations on more hospital campuses.