Drones in use: the hospital sample shuttle

Forget motorcycle couriers: two hospitals in Switzerland are swapping samples via drone, with a little help from Swiss Post

Here’s a fascinating use of drones outside of the hobbyist arena:

In the past two weeks, the drones have completed around 70 successful autonomous flights. The drones flew on their own without anyone directly piloting or watching the drones in person. Matternet says it has personnel monitoring all the flights from a remote location in case something goes awry.

There’s lots of potential here: moving medical supplies between facilities os often highly=time critical, and a drone removes the need to rely on ground transport with the subsequent risks of road james or, worse, accidents. And the service is using very small, light drones:

Matternet’s quadcopters are small, measuring only 31 inches in diameter. They can carry a payload weighing up to about four pounds and travel at a speed of about 22 miles per hour.

That, presumably, gave the Swiss authorities some comfort in authorising drone flights which move beyond the eyeshot of the operators – which still remains forbidden in may parts of the world.

Here’s the drone in action:

Another great example of new tech finding a good home in a business context, rather than as another consumer device.