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The first urban beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) medical drone delivery network has been launched in the largest city of the European Union with the potential to serve millions of patients each year.

Matternet, the developer of an urban drone logistics platform, has launched operations at Labor Berlin hospital laboratory in Germany. 

Permanent operations expected to take flight next year. The drone network expects to significantly improve the timeliness and efficiency of Labor Berlin’s diagnostics services by providing an option to avoid roadway delays, which will improve patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits and lower costs. 

Labor Berlin is Europe’s largest hospital laboratory, responsible for diagnostics for 80 percent of patient beds in Berlin. Currently, over 15,000 samples are transported daily across Labor Berlin’s extensive network.

During the initial phase of the program, Matternet will work with Labor Berlin to determine optimal ways to integrate drone delivery into the laboratory group’s existing workflow. The partners intend to invite government and public sector representatives to observe drone flights, and engage other airspace users such as Helicopter Emergency Rescue Services, Berlin police and Berlin’s airports. Matternet will also work closely with the Air Navigation Service Provider in Germany and UTM providers to integrate the drones safely into Berlin’s airspace.

The drone system has been operating around the world since 2017 through partnerships with Swiss Post, UPS and most recently Japan Airlines, according to uasweekly.com.