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SUNY Upstate deploying drones to deliver Covid-19 test kits across medical university campus

By Chris Stonor

SUNY Upstate Medical University is deploying drones to deliver Covid-19 test kits across its campus, reports This could lead to the university using unmanned craft to carry other medical products in the future.

One drone flew 2,500 ft from the Upstate University Hospital helipad to the parking lot of the CNY Biotech Accelerator. It went 150 ft up into the air carrying a test kit, before descending and dropping the package.

Tripp Shannon with DroneUp, the drone operator for the test flights, said the company has been working with the FAA for seven months to gain a waiver permit to fly over people and moving vehicles.

He said, “This is a first of its kind and that future that you’re seeing. Packages will be delivered both business to business and from businesses to consumer.”

Shannon said the FAA waiver is specifically for Covid-19 test kits, but he expects they will ask for amendments to add other package types.

Dr Robert Corona, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, believes drones can be deployed to deliver all kinds of medical samples, like tissue, blood and urine, from the University to Community Hospital as well as the Biotech Accelerator.

He said, “Because we have our specialists decentralised, we need to move the specimens as quickly as possible between those three llocations.”

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