A 112-year-old company is reinventing the delivery business by teaming up with CVS to deliver drugs via drones.
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UPS, through its subsidiary UPS Flight Forward, is planning on expanding its drone delivery service to further support hospital campuses around the country as well as to provide solutions for customers outside of the healthcare industry.
The partnership marks a significant step toward bringing drugstore products to customers' doorsteps minutes after being ordered.
"UPS Flight Forward is rapidly building a robust customer base and a network of technology partners to galvanize our leadership in drone delivery," said Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer. "We will create new logistics and delivery solutions no one has ever considered. Previous industry thinking had been limited to only ground transportation technology. Now we're thinking in three dimensions."
Price told FOX Business that UPS Flight Forward is the first fully certified drone airline by the FAA. The executive proclaimed this alone gives them a big lead in the business.
UPS Flight Forward already delivers medical samples by drone at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. To date, the company has completed 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries to the campus since March 2019.
Drone deliveries in the United States are still largely in early testing, however, UPS spokesperson Kyle Peterson said this method "can be an excellent final-mile solution for urgent delivery needs."
The company which dubs itself "a leader in unmanned aerial vehicle delivery" says the partnership with CVS represents its first move into the retail space.
"We will explore options for deliveries to customers’ homes and accumulate learnings that support our new drone airline and that we can use to help inform government policy on safe drone delivery," said Peterson. "Our customers fuel the continued growth of UPS Flight Forward. As we master different use cases for drone delivery, we accumulate learnings that enable us to provide new solutions."
The newly announced partnership comes just after Walgreens began working with Wing, the drone delivery company operated by Google's parent company Alphabet, to test the delivery service.
In June, the online retail giant Amazon also announced plans to use self-piloted drones to deliver packages to shoppers’ homes in the coming months.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.