Matternet unveils its new drone station
Drone logistics platform developer Matternet has unveiled the new Matternet Station to support the company’s vision of distributed, peer-to-peer drone logistics networks for urban environments.
The station is integrated with Matternet’s autonomous M2 Drone and Cloud Platform, providing an intuitive user interface for sending and receiving medical payloads, and a safe and secure drone portal for hospital campuses.
Matternet’s technology will be initially available to US hospitals in partnership with UPS, and in Switzerland in partnership with Swiss Post. This enables moving further into the future of autonomous aerial systems, giving hospitals and their supply partners the ability to integrate automated drone delivery into their laboratory and pharmacy operations.
The company has been operating in healthcare systems around the world since 2017, replacing slow and expensive on-demand courier services. Hospitals can now move blood diagnostics, pathology specimens and medicine between their facilities and suppliers with secure, extremely fast and predictable aerial delivery.
Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet explained: “Our vision is to connect every healthcare facility in every metropolitan area with the fastest transportation method available today. We are building the technology platform for extremely fast, point-to-point, urban medical delivery, enabling hospital systems to shrink patient waiting times and save millions of dollars per year through the centralization of laboratories and medical inventory.”
Furthermore, the Station is connected to the Matternet Cloud Platform and gives flight directors, sitting in a remote Matternet-enabled mission control center, the ability to monitor operations including inspecting vehicles and checking airspace before takeoff.
Each Station comes with its own automated aerial deconfliction system that manages drone traffic over the Station and through its small footprint can be installed at ground or rooftop locations.
At around 3 meters tall, it keeps the vehicles high enough off the ground to not compromise safety if installed in a public area. The Station is equipped with technology that guides the Matternet M2 Drone to precision landing on the Station’s platform. After landing, the Station locks the drone in place and automatically swaps its battery and payload. When the drone is not in use, it’s parked in a hangar on top of the Station.
Also, the Station uses an integrated authentication system to allow only authorized personnel to deposit or retrieve a payload by scanning their hospital ID badge. Payloads are tracked at every touchpoint to maintain a strong chain of custody. In its standard configuration, the Station holds four payload boxes, which are kept at a controlled temperature to ensure specimen integrity.
Stuart Ginn, MD, WakeMed ENT physician and former commercial airline pilot, added: “Since the start of our drone program, in partnership with Matternet and UPS, it has proven significant efficiencies in medical specimen transport, and we are already seeing the benefits for our patients as a result of faster and more predictable deliveries.
“We look forward to integrating the Station and expanding other parts of the network including new transport routes that will connect additional facilities within our system."