CARY, N.C. - UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward Inc. (UPSFF) and CVS Health Corporation subsidiary CVS Pharmacy, Inc. announced the successful completion of the first revenue-generating drone delivery of a medical prescription from a CVS pharmacy directly to a consumer’s home. This was followed by another delivery of a medical prescription to a second customer in a nearby retirement community. Both flights occurred on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, using the M2 drone system by UPS partner and drone systems developer Matternet.
The deliveries also reflect an important step for UPSFF as it expands operations beyond those it currently offers on hospital campuses. UPSFF was the first company approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to operate a drone airline under a Part 135 Standard certification. UPS earned its certification – the broadest available from the FAA – in late September. It permits the company to collect payment for drone deliveries and to fly as many drones supported by as many operators as necessary to meet customer demand.
The flights launched from a CVS store in Cary, NC and flew to CVS customers’ homes. The drones flew autonomously but were monitored by a remote operator who could intervene if necessary. The drone hovered about 20 feet over the properties and slowly lowered the packages by a cable and a winch to the ground. One of the packages was delivered to a CVS customer whose limited mobility makes it difficult to travel to a store to pick up a prescription.