UPS, CVS Partner to Provide BVLOS Drone Delivery to Florida Retirement Community

Starting May 4th UPS in conjunction with CVS, will start using drones to fly prescription medications to residents  of a Florida retirement community of more than 135,000 people.

The new service in The Villages, the largest retirement community in the U.S., will operate under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 rules, with authority to operate through the pandemic and explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period. The operation could expand to include deliveries from two additional CVS pharmacies in the area. The FAA has granted waivers to UPS to allow the company to operate the drone beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot in command as well as a visual observer. UPS is also allowed to conduct flights over people.

The first flights will be less than one half mile and be delivered to a location near the retirement community. Initially, a ground vehicle will complete the delivery to the resident’s door and will use drones developed by Matternet, a California-based aerial delivery company.

Last year, UPS and Matternet initiated an ongoing revenue-generating drone delivery service at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, N.C., completing more than 3,700 flights to date under the FAA’s Part 107 rules. UPS also established UPS Flight Forward in June 2019, which later earned the Federal Aviation Administration’s Standard Part 135 Air Carrier certification to operate a drone air carrier in September 2019. The companies later initiated service at the University of California San Diego Health system, also under the FAA’s Part 107 rules.

The program is a partnership between UPS and CVS Health, who last year completed their first drone delivery of a prescription to a customer’s home. But the coronavirus has added a new impetus to their collaboration.

UPS says the service will ensure elderly people under lockdown can still get their medicines, and help pharmacies maintain social distancing rules.

“Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, in a statement.

“UPS is committed to playing its part in fighting the spread of coronavirus, and this is another way we can support our healthcare customers and individuals with innovative solutions.”


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