Tech company works to get its drones to health care providers fighting pandemic

Tech company works to get its drones to health care providers fighting pandemic
Posted at 12:29 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 15:29:53-04

Tech companies are working to fight this pandemic with innovation. One in California hopes its drone delivery system will get more people tested and the results back faster.

"I think our response to the epidemic really depends on our ability to diagnose fast and diagnose accurately, and diagnose very frequently, a big section of the population," said Andreas Raptopoulos, founder of the Silicon Valley company Matternet .

Matternet's products enable organizations around the world to build and operate drone logistics networks for transporting goods on demand.

The company has worked with healthcare systems around the world for three years now, including two hospitals in the United States.

In partnership with UPS, their drones are equipped with GPS technology to transport blood tests, medicine, and other specimens between facilities. Drones can do it much faster than vehicles on the ground, slashing result wait times.

"We think that needs to be infrastructure that exists within our healthcare systems in our cities," said Raptopoulos.

The company is in talks with the FAA and regional authorities to get their drones in the hands of more healthcare systems to help transport COVID-19 test kits.

"The second use case is what people now call contact-less delivery. If you want to deliver prescription medicine to an elderly community, it's much better you don't send a driver there, or a truck there," said Raptopolos.

During the Ebola crisis, some couriers refused to transport specimens; Raptopoulos says autonomous delivery helps eliminates this problem.

"My feeling is we see some operations starting in the month of April. Does seem pandemic will get worse before it gets better," he said.

In the future, they'll deploy their new Matternet Stations to healthcare systems. It eliminates the need for someone on the ground to monitor takeoff and landing.

"Matternet is hopefully going to help in this pandemic, and will absolutely be essential in how we deal with pandemics in the future," said Raptoplos.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27
Mojave Veterans Hall
15580 O Street, Mojave
Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin
5th District Drive-Thru at The Prado Senior Center
2101 Ridge Road

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital (Coming Soon)
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa
  • No Drive-Thru option

Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561