Matternet, a Swiss drone company, announced a companion on Wednesday for its autonomous drone designed for delivering blood and other medical supplies. The Matternet Station, a six-feet-squared box that sits on rooftops or outside at ground level, can swap the M2 Drone’s battery and payload, enabling fully autonomous deliveries between hospitals.
“With the Matternet Station, we’re introducing an extremely easy-to-use interface that enables true peer-to-peer drone delivery,” Matternet CEO, Andreas Raptopoulos, said in a statement. “For healthcare systems, an integrated Matternet network means that medical items can be delivered to any hospital facility within 30 minutes. This level of speed and predictability creates substantial opportunities for improved quality of care and operational savings.”
The first networks will serve hospitals across Switzerland. When a drone locks into the station, a user can retrieve the package using a QR code scan, or send a package to a new location by scanning it into the station.
Matternet has developed a number of uses for its autonomous drone system. Last year, the company teamed up with Mercedes-Benz to develop the Vision Van, an autonomous van that could link up to a drone and receive parcels mid-drive. Outside of the concept stage, Matternet has worked with the Swiss postal service to trial mail deliveries over-the-air.
The company received authorization in March 2017 to complete its vision of a fully autonomous drone delivery system. It was the first company in the world to gain clearance to operate drone logistics networks over densely populated areas in Switzerland. The station and drone work together through Matternet’s cloud-based logistics system, enabling a complete service from end to end.
Watch the drones in action here: