Matternet is a new startup building autonomous drones for delivery. And I guess that is great, right? Our world is not filled with drones flying above our heads. It turns out, that the company has been working to commercialize its tech through transportation of blood and pathology samples to labs. One advantage that Matternet has is that it can take traffic out of the equation: this shows that it can cut hours off the testing process. However, Matternet is pushing to become even more efficient at autonomous transportation. Moreover, this drive led to the development of the Matternet Station. The latter is an automated base station. And it is mainly for swapping batteries and payloads on the company’s drones.
Matternet delivery drones
So here is how things work. Packages ready to be fixed to a drone are put into a drawer on the Matternet Station. There is a QR code on the package linking to its destination. And there is also a camera, which captures the QR code. At the same time, a storage bay of five batteries is made available to the drone. The great thing is that everything happens efficiently and with minimal human interaction by design.
“We are taking the expert out of the loop. You don’t need someone to swap batteries or insert things into the vehicle,” Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder, and CEO of Matternet explained during an interview.
Arrogant ideas are a dime a dozen in the autonomous drone space. However few startups can state that they actually have an operational product working in the field. Meanwhile, Matternet waits on a favorable regulatory environment in the United States. And that is not all: the startup is preparing to deploy its drones in Switzerland. So what does this mean?
We can conclude that Matternet will soon be transporting real blood samples from hospital rooms to labs. The only time a human touch will be needed is when a technician will place the samples into a designated container. And later the same technician will feed the box into the Station.
Think about it: even minutes matter in the world of medical testing. And if you can cut just a few minutes off processing lab work, you might be able to improve outcomes. Moreover, you might be able to increase the likelihood that patients receive the right treatment at the right time.
Cloud+ drone+ station
Matternet technology is the following: cloud + drone + station. The company supplies its technology to transportation providers. The next step is providers’. They need to market to hospitals, offering peer-to-peer transportation. Moreover, the latter is faster than any traditional approach to logistics.
Moving on to the future, Matternet’s next goal is to grow operations to multiple cities in Switzerland before exploring expansion to the U.K. and Germany.