It is sometimes more comfortable to transport certain types of supplies and packages through a drone if it is located at a relatively close distance. However, one of the problems was where these devices landed. An American company Matternet has been in business for a while.
Last year, Matternet teamed up with a UPS shipping company to create a drone transfer system for the safe operation of the biomaterial delivery service between labs and a hospital in North Carolina. And now, the Californian startup introduced a new Matternet station, which will help medical personnel transport biosamples using drones.
With this station, Matternet’s drones would take off and land from the same base, forgetting about battery concerns, being an even more automated process.
How it works?
It is a tower, expanding upward. The height of the tower is three meters, so the drone is always above the level of people’s heads – to prevent accidents. The dome of the tower consists of four sections, independently opening and closing if necessary. It would open like a flower, making the drone enter the base.
After landing on the new base, the station blocks the drone, removes the cargo container. Also, it automatically changes the drone battery to offer you new flight autonomy and collects its payload or adds one to it.
The authorized user can pick up or place containers from the tower by using their key to access the contents of the package – for this, a lowering door is provided in the tower. In order for the biomaterial samples to retain their properties, the tower is maintained at an appropriate temperature.
For this, a proprietary M2 quadrocopter is used, capable of transporting a container with cargo weighing up to 2 kilograms over a distance of 20 kilometers. The drone performs the flight autonomously from station to station. The Matternet cloud platform allows operators to remotely monitor the status of transportation and the status of drones.
Such a scheme allows delivering biomaterial for analysis much faster than a courier moving on the ground. In case of failure of engines or other components, the drone has an autonomous parachute.
Technically, the drone can transport any suitable cargo, such as food, like Wing, but the company decided to focus on delivering samples for laboratory analysis. It must be recognized that in its design, we see certain inspirations in science fiction movies, due to its futuristic appearance. Matternet’s technology is available today to US hospitals in partnership with UPS, and in Switzerland in partnership with Swiss Post.