Swiss Post and drone manufacturer Matternet have successfully used drones to transport laboratory samples between two hospitals in Lugano, Switzerland. The hospital now expects to make drone delivery a standard operation in 2018.
Swiss Post, the Ticino EOC hospital group and Matternet launched the joint project earlier this month. Normally, the samples are transported by road, however the experiment proved that drones can make transport faster and more efficient, ultimately improving patient care.
Since mid-March, there have been around 70 autonomous test flights between the two hospitals. Further test flights are scheduled through April 4, after which an evaluation will take place. More testing is then planned for this summer.
The drone is 80 centimeters in diameter, can transport goods weighing up to two kilograms and has a range of 20 kilometers.
For high-value medical transport, safety features include a parachute that would be released in the event of the failure of all electronics. The drone uses infrared signals for take-off and landing. During its approach, the drone can detect the infrared signal to ensure a precise landing.