Drone deliveries between hospitals

The Swiss postal service is to pilot a drone delivery service to shuttle laboratory samples between two hospitals in the canton of Ticino.

The service, in the pipeline since 2015, will begin test flights this month with a view to making drone deliveries between the two Lugano hospitals a daily service by 2018, Swiss Post said in a statement on Tuesday.

Using the drones made by US manufacturer Matternet will “allow samples to be transported more quickly and efficiently in the future,” it said.

Prior to the test flights the drones will be examined by the Swiss federal aviation office to ensure they meet necessary criteria related to security, practicality and reliability, added Swiss Post.

Test flights will only be carried out in Lugano if the weather permits, it said.

Swiss Post has long positioned itself at the forefront of new technology.

In 2015 it started testing parcel delivery by drone, but said it did not expect their “realistic commercial use” for another five years.

Last September it also started trialling robot deliveries in the Swiss capital.

The fleet of post-bots were equipped with dummy packages and monitored as they made their way through the streets of Bern.

Speaking to The Local at the time, Swiss Post’s head of development and innovation said “It’s very important that we are at the top of such developments, that they are tested and we see what impact it has on the delivery chain, on the delivery itself and on our clients.”

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