Innovation That Matters

Healthcare delivery

Swiss hospitals use drones to deliver lab samples


Swiss Post is pioneering urban healthcare delivery via drone between two hospitals in Lugano using the US-based Matternet’s latest quadrocopter.

Lugano, Switzerland’s Ospedale Italiano and the Ospedale Civico have begun using drones to send lab samples between the two hospital sites. Managed by Swiss Post, and with oversight from the Federal Office for Civil Aviation, the hospitals are using quadrocopters from the United States’ Matternet drone manufacturer. Each drone can carry up to two kilograms of material and has an average speed of 36 kilometers per hour for a maximum range of 20 kilometers in distance.

Hospital staff members are trained in loading the safety boxes carried by the drones and use an app to launch each flight. The landing pads at each site emit an infrared signal to help guide the devices down for a safe landing, and the flight paths are predetermined. Each drone has a complete backup of the electronics system in case of an emergency. Should the entire driving system fail, a parachute will automatically release. Use of delivery drones in this manner in an urban setting are new, and under worldwide observation as a number of commercial companies attempt to navigate the various regulations and financial considerations of such a service.

Drones are currently being tested out in a variety of situations, from delivery of anti-venom medication for remote Amazonian communities to helping pollinate flowers in order to relieve some of the burden on the world’s increasingly fragile bee population. How could drones be adapted for personal administrative use?




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