Matternet, developer of the world’s leading urban drone logistics platform, unveiled the new Matternet Station. The Matternet Station supports the company’s vision of distributed, peer-to-peer drone logistics networks for urban environments. It’s integrated with Matternet’s autonomous M2 Drone and Cloud Platform, providing an intuitive user interface for sending and receiving medical payloads, and a safe and secure drone portal for hospital campuses. Stations will initially service healthcare systems in Switzerland and the US.
With the new Station, Matternet is moving further into the future of autonomous aerial systems, giving hospitals and their supply partners the ability to integrate automated drone delivery into their laboratory and pharmacy operations. The company has been operating in healthcare systems around the world since 2017, replacing slow and expensive on-demand courier services. Hospitals can now move blood diagnostics, pathology specimens and medicine between their facilities and suppliers with secure, extremely fast and predictable aerial delivery.
“Our vision is to connect every healthcare facility in every metropolitan area with the fastest transportation method available today,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet. “We are building the technology platform for extremely fast, point-to-point, urban medical delivery, enabling hospital systems to shrink patient waiting times and save millions of dollars per year through the centralization of laboratories and medical inventory. The Matternet Station is a very important part of the ecosystem for making this vision a reality.”
Matternet, which is currently working with the FAA to Type Certify its Matternet M2 Drone and Cloud Platform, designed the new Station as an aviation-grade asset. The Station is connected to the Matternet Cloud Platform and gives flight directors, sitting in a remote Matternet-enabled mission control center, the ability to monitor operations including inspecting vehicles and checking airspace before takeoff. Each Station comes with its own automated aerial deconfliction system that manages drone traffic over the Station.
The Matternet Station, a beautifully designed architectural structure, occupies a small footprint and can be installed at ground or rooftop locations. At around 10 feet (3 meters) tall, it keeps the vehicles high enough off the ground to not compromise safety if installed in a public area. The Station is equipped with technology that guides the Matternet M2 Drone to precision landing on the Station’s platform. After landing, the Station locks the drone in place and automatically swaps its battery and payload. When the drone is not in use, it’s parked in a hangar on top of the Station.
The Station uses an integrated authentication system to allow only authorized personnel to deposit or retrieve a payload by scanning their hospital ID badge. Payloads are tracked at every touchpoint to maintain a strong chain of custody. In its standard configuration, the Station holds four payload boxes, which are kept at a controlled temperature to ensure specimen integrity.
“Since the start of our drone program, in partnership with Matternet and UPS, it has proven significant efficiencies in medical specimen transport, and we are already seeing the benefits for our patients as a result of faster and more predictable deliveries,” said Stuart Ginn, MD, WakeMed ENT physician, medical director of WakeMed Innovations and former commercial airline pilot. “We look forward to integrating the Station and expanding other parts of the network including new transport routes that will connect additional facilities within our system.”
Matternet’s system is made available to hospital systems on an annual subscription model, enabling hospitals to fulfill on-demand and routine delivery requests at a fraction of the time of road courier and with much higher predictability. Matternet’s technology is available today to US hospitals in partnership with UPS, and in Switzerland in partnership with Swiss Post.