UPS will use drones to deliver prescriptions to retirees in Florida

Igor Bonifacic
Contributing Writer
UPS Drone

Residents of the largest retirement community in the US will soon have the option to have their drug prescriptions delivered to them partly by air. Starting this May, UPS and CVS plan to use autonomous drones to shuttle medicine to people in The Villages, Florida, giving them a high-tech way to practice social-distancing.

As it has done in the past, UPS will use Matternet M2 quadcopters to deliver the prescriptions (pictured above). At first, the aircraft will drop off the orders at a pickup location, with a human driver on the ground moving them the rest of the way. One CVS pharmacy will take part in the program initially, though there's the potential for two more locations to join in the future. The first flights will see the drones fly about half a mile to the community, which is home to approximately 135,000 people. The entire program is sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration.  

This isn't the first time UPS and CVS have used drones to ferry prescriptions to people. Last November, the companies said they had successfully used drones to transport medicine to two homes in Cary, North Carolina. Previously, UPS also announced a deal to shuttle medical samples between WakeMed facilities in Raleigh. In the latter case, the company says it has completed about 3,700 successful flights. If all goes smoothly, this should be another critical step on the way to the more mainstream adoption of delivery drones.