On May 4 (now “early May,” per UPS), CVS and UPS will begin offering drone-based prescription drug delivery to Florida’s massive retirement community, The Villages. The news is part of a partnership with Matternet that began last year, utilizing the company’s M2 drone system to make similar delivers to customers in North Carolina. Last March, the company announced an initial deal, which found Matternet’s drones delivering medical supplies at WakeMed’s flagship hospital in North Carolina. The drones are capable of carrying a five pound payload up to 12 miles.
The expansion comes as residents all over the U.S. have had diminished access to the outside world as part of state issued lockdown measures. Florida’s state at home order order is currently expected to last at least through April 30, though some restrictions have been loosened on beaches throughout the state.
The move is falls under the FAA’s Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft regulations, “with authority to operate through the pandemic and explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period,” according to UPS. The parcel delivery services is exploring opening up deliveries to two more CVS locations in the immediate area.
Seniors (60 and up) are, of course, the most vulnerable to this novel coronavirus. Those over 80 are even more at risk, with a fatality risk of around 15% among those who contract the virus.