Transportation-solutions provider Workhorse Group is partnering with Unmanned Systems Operations Group to launch a pilot drone-delivery program focusing on the medical sector.
The initiative will deploy Workhorse’s HorseFly, an octocopter drone designed and built by the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science.
If all goes according to plan, USOG technicians will monitor multiple autonomous drone flights. Healthcare clients will be able to track deliveries with an app. This will provide real-time data such as package location and vehicle status as well as on-board video.
Last year, Workhorse Group announced a patent filing to develop a truck-launched drone package delivery system.
The company describes the system as a “custom-built, high efficiency delivery UAV that is fully integrated with the Workhorse line of electric/hybrid delivery trucks” that will maintain line-of-sight flights with a driver or assistant.
Workhorse and USOG will work within the FAA’s Integration Pilot Program in San Diego. USOG will use a Workhorse step van and HorseFly, with the goal of adding additional programs in the coming months.
“USOG’s vision is to enable nationwide medical deliveries by UAV, and we couldn’t think of a better application for our HorseFly system,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said. “As the only U.S. patented truck drone-launched system, we believe we are in an excellent position to take share in a number of nascent delivery markets.”
“This partnership represents a game-changing opportunity the broader medical field, which could set a new standard for more effective and timely patient treatment options empowered by drone logistics,” added USOG CEO Pharns Genece.
Healthcare-related delivery programs have dominated drone-industry headlines this year.
Earlier this month, drug-store chain CVS launched an M2 drone developed by Matternet from a store. The drone delivered medicine to two customers.
Walgreens announced a partnership with Alphabet UAV spinoff Wing last month. The duo successfully launched a non-prescription, drone delivery service to select customers in Christianburg, Va. Eligible customers will be able to order from a menu of more than 100 Walgreens products as well as pre-packaged bundles for allergies, baby-care, cough/cold, first-aid, pain relief and snacks.
In May, a team from the University of Maryland delivered a successfully transplanted kidney to surgeons at the university’s hospital.