Delivery company UPS has teamed up with Matternet to launch drone-based medical sample deliveries in North Carolina, the companies have announced.

The new unmanned drone delivery service involves the WakeMed flagship hospital and campus located in Raleigh, where drones will join existing courier cars in transporting medical specimens and samples.

This marks the first time in the US that unmanned drones have received the FAA’s blessing for use in the routine transportation of a product.

According to UPS, both the FAA and the North Carolina Department of Transportation will be overseeing the new delivery service, which offers same-day and on-demand medical sample deliveries.

Unlike courier cars, these drones can’t get stuck in traffic or delayed by road construction and accidents.

The service is said to be more efficient of a delivery option with lower costs and “potentially life-saving benefits.” The new service follows Matternet’s and NCDOT’s first-round test flights on the WakeMed campus back in August 2018.

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