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Futuristic Drone Station Automates Medical Payload Networking

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Mar 2020
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Image: The Station provides fully-automated payload exchange on hospital campuses (Photo courtesy of Matternet)
Image: The Station provides fully-automated payload exchange on hospital campuses (Photo courtesy of Matternet)
An urban environment drone station provides safe, fully-automated logistic medical payload exchange on hospital campuses.

The Matternet (Mountain View, CA, USA) Station is a strikingly designed architectural structure that occupies a small footprint and can be installed at both ground and rooftop locations; being about three meters tall, it does not compromise personal safety. Hospitals can use it to transport blood diagnostics, pathology specimens, and medicines between facilities and suppliers via secure, fast, and predictable aerial delivery. The Station is connected to the Matternet Cloud, giving 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. The Station guides Matternet M2 drones to a precision landing, following which it locks the drone into place, and then automatically swaps its payload and battery. The Matternet Station uses an integrated authentication system to allow only authorized personnel to deposit or retrieve a payload by scanning their hospital identification (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.

“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,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet. “Our vision is to connect every healthcare facility, in every metropolitan area, with the fastest transportation method available today. The Matternet Station is a very important part of the ecosystem for making this vision a reality.”

Drones are already being used around the world to transport vital medications, vaccines, and blood supplies. Using a GPS, the unmanned drones are able to fly autonomously, based on a pre-determined route, to the required location. They can reach a speed of up to 140 km/hour, fly in inclement weather and heavy winds, and are unimpeded by traffic concerns.

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