Drone Profits

For the first time ever, a drone has been used in a commercial application that derived revenue for its owner. This is the story of UPS and Matternet providing a drone delivery service in Raleigh, North Carolina. UPS is a delivery company while Matternet is a drone tech company.

This just happened yesterday, so it is a fresh and new happenstance. Here is the actual drone.

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Their customer is WakeMed whose campus is in Raleigh. Using the drone reduced a 30-60 minute transportation time across campus to three minutes and fifteen seconds. This time savings could be life saving as, sometimes, the delivery might be blood or an organ sample.

The participants describe the service as “just-in-time” and, potentially, “life saving.”

Here is a picture of the actual UPS delivery at a lab.

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WakeMed paid UPS/Mattnet for the service thereby initiating the first ever revenue-generation drone delivery service in the United States. The daily service is expected to provide ten such deliveries a day. This is neither a pilot program nor an experiment — this is the real deal.

All of this came from a US Department of Transportation sponsored public-private partnership initiated in early 2018. The US DOT has tried to get out in front of what it considers the potential for “rogue drone use” and has approved a handful of state, local, and tribal drone tech tests.

UPS, Uber, FedEx, Intel, Qualcomm, Airmap, Flirtey, and Amazon are in the drone development business. Every pizza company in the world wants to deliver pizzas by drone.

UPS has been working on drone delivery in other parts of the world, including a service in Rwanda which started in 2016.

In Rwanda, UPS, working in partnership with healthcare company Gavi and drone tech company Zipline, is delivering blood samples from remote parts of Rwanda.

UPS says it got interested in medical drone delivery tech as a logical outgrowth from its airborne and ground delivery as part of its existing medical supply chain network.

Today, a blood sample. Tomorrow, a sixteen inch pizza half pepperoni and half black olives. Next year during March Madness? Please, Pappa John?

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself. Hook ‘Em Horns.