Swiss hospitals to transport lab samples via drone

A Swiss logistics firm will use drones to transport laboratory samples between hospitals as a regular service by 2018, reports The Verge.

Two hospitals in Lugano, Switzerland have participated in a pilot program with the drones since mid-March, and Swiss Post, the logistics company, has completed more than 70 test flights between the two hospitals, according to the report.

While other companies have used drones to transport medical supplies to secluded or developing areas, Swiss Post claims this application represents the first commercial use of the drones in an urban area, according to The Verge.

"The regular use of drones between the two hospitals will become an everyday occurrence," Swiss Post said in a news release. "Trained hospital staff will be able to load the drone independently with a safety box (in which the lab samples are packaged) and launch the drone with a smartphone application. The drone will then fly autonomously along the predefined route to its destination, where the box will be received by another member of staff."

Menlo Park, Calif.-based Matternet manufactures the drones used by Swiss Post.

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