The lab facility for the main hospital in the WakeMed campus is across a busy road that has frequent traffic congestion. Delivery of blood samples and medical supplies to and from the lab can take up to 45 minutes. Drone delivery is being tested to reduce the time to deliver samples.
WakeMed's partner in this endeavor, UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward, has won federal approval to expand its drone delivery operations, allowing the company to use multiple aircraft in multiple locations to make revenue-generating deliveries over longer distances.
GPS and other technologies allow for these unmanned drones to fly to precise locations, and collision-avoidance technology will help prevent the drones from crashing into obstacles such as trees, power lines, buildings or even other drones.
Using a drone to deliver medical supplies instead of using a car can reduce the door to door time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes, a 78 percent decrease. In terms of medical treatment, saving this much time can, in some instances, save lives.