UPS to deliver medicine by drone to large Florida retirement community

Source: UPS
Source: UPS

UPS plans to use drones for deliveries of prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages retirement community in Florida.

The Sandy Springs-based shipping giant said the service by its drone-subsidiary UPS Flight Forward will support social-distancing efforts and allow faster same-day delivery of medicines as an alternative to visiting a pharmacy.

At the start, the service will combine the use of drones and regular delivery vehicles. The first flights will be less than a half-mile long to a location near The Villages, then a ground vehicle will deliver the prescription to the resident's door.

UPS said it will start the service in early May using Matternet M2 drones in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, with authority to operate through the pandemic and "explore ongoing needs as they arise after that period."

The Villages is the largest retirement community in the country, with more than 135,000 residents on about 32 square miles across three counties in central Florida.

The service will allow residents of The Villages to get medications without leaving their homes, according to UPS chief strategy and transformation officer Scott Price.

UPS has partnered with CVS for drone deliveries of prescriptions since last year, and did the first drone delivery from a CVS in Cary, N.C., in November 2019.

CVS chief operating officer Jon Roberts said the drone delivery service "provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers."

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