There have been a number of other similar drone flight tests in the U.S., with Google parent Alphabet completing burrito deliveries in 2016 and Amazon Prime Air finishing a test delivery of sunscreen in the controlled airspace of an airport in 2017.
On Tuesday, UPS announced it recently conducted the first revenue-generating drone delivery of a prescription medication from a CVS pharmacy directly to a customer's home.
"CVS is exploring many types of delivery options for urban, suburban, and rural markets", he continued.
UPS Chief Executive Officer David Abney is betting that drone deliveries will grow quickly, especially in rural areas, and is investing to keep the courier competitive with Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc. and FedEx Corp. To date, UPS Flight Forward and Matternet have completed more than 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries.More news: Google forges new 'app defense alliance' to fix Android malware menace
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Once a UPS employee loaded the cargo onto the drones, they flew autonomously from the store location to nearby customer homes, dropping off the packages from a hover height of around 20 feet above these locations.
'We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times can not conveniently access one of our stores'. UPS was the first company to gain authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly commercial drones under the broadest airline rules, giving the green light to build out the business despite certain restrictions.
On Oct. 1, UPS Flight Forward said it had received the first FAA Part 135 Standard certification for a drone delivery service, allowing it to expand the scope of its operations. "Delivering prescriptions by drone straight to households could significantly improve the patient practical experience for CVS clients". UPS is already working with North Carolina-based WakeMed Hospital to move items around the institution's Raleigh campus.
The firms are using M2 Quadcopters from Matternet to make deliveries, which are capable of carrying payloads up to five pounds for up to 12.5 miles.