UPS and CVS made the first U.S. commercial drone deliveries of medical prescriptions from a CVS pharmacy directly to customers’ homes in North Carolina last Friday. Two deliveries—one to a private home and one to a retirement community—were successfully completed using an M2 drone developed by UPS partner Matternet. The autonomous flights were monitored by a remote operator.
“This drone delivery, the first of its kind in the industry, demonstrates what’s possible for our customers who can’t easily make it into our stores,” said CVS Pharmacy President Kevin Hourican. “We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times cannot conveniently access one of our stores.”
As previously reported by AVweb, UPS subsidiary Flight Forward received FAA approval to operate commercial drone delivery vehicles under FAR Part 135 last September. Friday’s deliveries follow a similar trial in Canada last month, where prescription medications were delivered using a drone operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) to Saltspring Island off the coast of British Columbia. That delivery was made via a partnership between Canada Post and Indro Robotics.