UPS tests drones to help in fight against coronavirus

UPS’ drone subsidiary has been working with Virgina’s Center for Innovative Technology to explore how unmanned aerial systems can assist medical professionals in their fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The tests carried out by UPS Flight Forward, DroneUP and Workhorse Group in Virginia evaluated the commercial drone industry’s ability to provide and scale small unmanned aerial systems to support various use cases to speed and assist the US healthcare system during the novel coronavirus crisis.

The test participants conducted exercises over three days earlier this month on the vacant campus of St Paul’s College, in Lawrenceville, Virginia.

The Brunswick County facility, which closed to the public in 2013, provided a safe, complex community environment to test package deliveries by drones under a variety of conditions. The exercises focused on delivery to residential and commercial areas.

Data collected during this fast-paced simulation will be used to determine how private-sector drone operators can effectively supplement emergency response and certain patient care.

The findings and recommendations will be included in a report to the White House, where leaders are considering what role the nascent industry could play in the coronavirus response.

“We’ve proven through ongoing commercial drone delivery programs that effective drone delivery of medical products is faster than conventional ground-based transportation,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. “Drones offer a low-touch option for delivery of lab specimens and medical products that could make a significant impact in an urgent response application.”

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]