Next month, Switzerland's hospitals will be equipped with a potentially revolutionary autonomous drone delivery network. Healthcare providers and a Menlo Park, California company called Matternet have teamed up to implement the system across the country. And on Wednesday, Matternet announced that they had completed "the third and final technology component" to make their drone and information system a reality. It's called the Matternet Station: a two square foot robotic drone loading dock and smart launching and landing pad that enables hospitals to quickly send and receive crucial medical samples and resources, all by drone.
A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week. The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren't sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn't clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital.
Drones are becoming a ubiquitous technology with their increasing capabilities. Amazon is using them to deliver packages, Japanese innovators have created pollinator drones, and drones are even being used as backup dancers for pop stars. There are even drones emerging that could help to save lives. One such drone is being developed by Flypulse, a Swedish startup working on an autonomous drone that can bring life-saving equipment to the scene of a medical emergency. Its has the ability to deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at an incredible speed -- four times faster than an ambulance.
When a doctor or medical professional is in need of blood, they send a WhatsApp message to Zipline or log on to the company's order site. When a Zipline drone is en route, they are sent a confirmation text. A drone flies to the hospital at up to 60 mph. When it is within one minute of its destination, the doctor will receive a text message. The drone then drops the package, which parachutes into a designated area near the hospital, before returning to its base, according to Zipline.
The autonomous drone logistics platform Matternet has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round led by Boeing Horizon X Ventures, with investments by Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund and Levitate Capital. The funding is a vote of confidence in what many already believe will be a standard feature of our lives in the near future. Matternet has launched drone deliveries in the healthcare sector, with a successful program in Lugano, Switzerland, in partnership with Swiss Post and Mercedes-Benz Vans. It has conducted more than 1,700 flights for the Ticino EOC Hospital Group and delivered over 850 patient samples over densely populated areas without incident. This month, Matternet and Swiss Post expanded the operation to test new hospital-to-hospital networks in Bern and Zurich.