ATLANTA, Oct. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

  • First expansion that builds on strategy to support U.S. hospital transport services in partnership with Matternet
  • UPS quickly scaling service to support enhanced patient care at lower cost
  • Announcement comes after UPS Flight Forward™ received FAA’s first Part 135 Standard approval for drone airline

UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced the expansion of its industry leading drone delivery service.  UPS Flight Forward will now begin drone flights at the University of Utah Health campus in Salt Lake City. The University of Utah is the first hospital campus expansion after the service was launched at WakeMed’s flagship hospital in Raleigh, N.C.  The WakeMed program announced in March marked the first FAA-sanctioned use of a drone for routine revenue flights in the U.S. In September, UPS’s drone airline subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, received the first ever FAA’s Part 135 Standard certification awarded in the United States, which gives UPS and Matternet flexibility to rapidly scale hospital operations.

Drone transportation for healthcare logistics creates substantial opportunities for enhanced patient care and cost savings. Currently, the majority of medical samples, instruments, supplies and documents at University of Utah Health are transported by courier cars. Drones provide capability for on-demand and same-day delivery, the ability to avoid roadway delays, increase medical delivery efficiency, and improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.

“UPS is rapidly expanding drone delivery, next generation tracking tools and other technologies to help the health care industry solve logistics problems, enhance efficiency and deliver improved patient outcomes,” said Scott Price, Chief Transformation and Strategy Officer at UPS.  We are transforming the company’s Smart Global Logistics Network by using the latest innovation to bring new value to customers.”

Flight operations at University of Utah Health will be geared toward building out a more cost-efficient medical delivery system as the campus undergoes tremendous growth. New medical construction includes its new Acute Care Center, Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital, and Sugar House Health Center. The addition of drone logistics will help establish an environmentally responsible, short-range transportation solution in support of the state’s Utah Clean Air partnership.

University of Utah Health hails itself as the Mountain West's only academic healthcare system, which provides care for Utahns and residents of five surrounding states. With more than 5,000 healthcare professionals in the network, drones can enable staff to focus more on care services vs. courier services, and better support rural area healthcare needs as drone transportation services expand.

Standard transport protocols will include medical professionals packing a secure drone payload container with medical items. The drones will then fly autonomously along a predetermined flight path to its delivery point.

Matternet’s unmanned drone system on the Utah medical campus, and also WakeMed, will fly under the FAA’s Part 135 Standard certification granted to UPS on Sept. 27, which makes UPS Flight Forward the first company to attain this key certification. More than 1,500 flights have been completed on the WakeMed campus since operations began there. UPS and Matternet expect to rapidly expand health campus drone deliveries to other locations in the near future as part of UPS Flight Forward’s new technology services in support of hospital logistics.

About UPS Healthcare and Life Sciences

UPS Healthcare and Life Sciences provides global supply chain solutions and expertise to pharmaceutical, biopharma and medical device companies. UPS has approximately 8 million square feet of cGMP- or cGDP-compliant healthcare distribution space globally. UPS also maintains one of the world’s largest networks of field stocking locations with approximately 900 sites. For parcels requiring strict temperature environments, from CRT to cryogenic, and those requiring around-the-clock monitoring, UPS has solutions such as UPS Temperature True™ and UPS Proactive Response™ services. UPS is committed to expanding its healthcare capabilities including acquisitions of Marken, CEMELOG and Poltraf, to meet the complex and evolving supply chain needs of the healthcare and life science sectors. Visit ups.com/healthcare.

About Matternet

Matternet has developed world-leading technology for on-demand, aerial delivery in urban environments. In March 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to be authorized for full operations of drone logistics networks over densely populated areas in Switzerland. In May 2018, Matternet was selected to carry out drone logistics operations for U.S. hospitals under the FAA's drone Integration Pilot Program. In March 2019, Matternet and UPS announced a partnership to provide drone delivery services to U.S. healthcare systems, with current operations at WakeMed Health, and plans to rapidly expand services to other hospital networks. For more information about Matternet, please visit: https://mttr.net

About University of Utah Health

University of Utah Health is the state’s only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate medicine for a referral area that encompasses 10% of the U.S., including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and much of Nevada. A hub for health sciences research and education in the region, U of U Health touts a $373 million research enterprise and trains the majority of Utah’s physicians and more than 1,250 healthcare providers each year at its Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Health. With more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and four hospitals — University Hospital; University Neuropsychiatric Institute; Huntsman Cancer Hospital; and the University Orthopaedic Center. For 10 straight years, U of U Health has ranked among the top 10 U.S. academic medical centers in the rigorous Vizient Quality and Accountability Study, including reaching No. 1 in 2010 and 2016. For more information, go to https://healthcare.utah.edu/

Executive Statements

UPS 
Dan Gagnon, UPS Vice President of Healthcare Logistics, Marketing & Strategy
Approved Statement: “Our Healthcare and Life Sciences team has been delivering innovation for over 19 years, and the UPS medical drone program is just another example of our commitment to deliver better healthcare. We’re thrilled to work with University of Utah Health in support of its goals to create healthier communities and improve patient outcomes. The drone program will reduce lab test result turnaround times by reducing the length and variation of courier transit times.”

Matternet
Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO Matternet
Approved Statement: “Matternet is thrilled to be expanding its on-demand drone delivery hospital operations in the U.S. in partnership with UPS. We are transforming the way traditional healthcare logistics work by creating a new mode of transportation to deliver urgent items that has immense benefits to hospitals and the cities that surround them. University of Utah Health believes in our mission to transform medical logistics and improve patient care, and we are excited to work with the organization to realize the value of medical drone delivery.”


University of Utah Health
Gordon Crabtree, Chief Executive Officer, University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics
Approved Statement: “University of Utah Health’s drone delivery program will provide many benefits including patient convenience, reduced delivery times, and support for the Utah Clean Air partnership by reducing vehicle traffic. It’s extremely exciting that we are on track to launch Utah’s first functioning drone delivery program. Not only are we committed to providing innovative and quality care to our patients, but we are committed to improving Utah’s air quality by being on the forefront of this new technological frontier. We look forward to this exciting collaboration with UPS and Matternet.”

UPS 
David Graves, Corporate Public Relations: davidgraves@ups.com 
Kyle Peterson, Public Relations Manager: kylepeterson@ups.com 

Matternet
Jenny Russo, Matternet PR Manager, jenny@matternet.us

University of Utah Health
Kathy Wilets, Director of Public Relations, kathy.wilets@hsc.utah.edu
Suzanne Winchester, Associate Director of Public Relations, suzanne.winchester@hsc.utah.edu