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Drone to transport laboratory samples across Lake Zurich

Communication dated 22.06.2018

Another drone is being deployed in the medical sector. Swiss Post is testing a flight path over the next two weeks in co-operation with drone manufacturer Matternet. The test is being carried out on behalf of ZLZ Zentrallabor Zürich with the route over Lake Zurich. The drone is around five times faster than conventional transport, saving valuable time for medical staff and patients.

Following Lugano and Berne (see press release), Swiss Post, together with Matternet, will now also transport laboratory samples in Zurich. The drone has been in operation for ten flying days since 20 June.  The flight path will run from the main laboratory of ZLZ Zentrallabor Zürich on Forchstrasse to the ZLZ emergency laboratory at the Hirslanden Klinik Im Park. The previous transport via road went around Lake Zurich. By contrast, the drone will fly directly over Lake Zurich, cutting down the transport time considerably. This means that the laboratory samples will reach their destination about five times faster by drone. That is time which can be extremely valuable for medical staff and, in turn, for patients.  “With drone transport, we're less reliant on the traffic situation in Zurich. The faster the lab samples reach us, the faster we can get the results back to the patient,” says Marco Fischer, managing director of the ZLZ.

Drones a solution for transporting special consignments over the last mile

As in Berne, the autonomous flying drone will also be deployed in Zurich for two weeks. “During this time we will evaluate the concrete added value for the ZLZ Zentrallabor Zürich. Thanks to the use of drones, the transport of laboratory samples will become more flexible, ecological and, of course, faster,” explains Claudia Pletscher, Head of Development & Innovation at Swiss Post. Within these two weeks, the partners involved will collect sufficient results. Afterwards, the ZLZ will be able to decide whether the drone can take over the transport of laboratory samples in the future. Swiss Post believes in drones as a logistics solution. The strong interest in the healthcare sector and over 1,000 successful flights in Lugano have underlined the suitability of the transport methods for special consignments such as laboratory samples. As a pioneer in drone logistics, Swiss Post is cooperating closely with other users of the airspace and with regulatory authorities. In the future, drones will complement traditional parcel delivery where required, but they will not replace it.

The Swiss Post drone project has been launched under the early Label. The early Label stands for innovations which Swiss Post tests and develops together with its customers. This enables customers to gain access to the very latest developments from Swiss Post and actively help shape innovations by providing feedback. For more information, go to www.swisspost.ch/early.

About ZLZ Zentrallabor

ZLZ is a laboratory for hospitals and private customers equipped in accordance with the latest standards and run by FAMH specialists (The Medical Laboratories of Switzerland). The laboratory is staffed around the clock, 365 days a year.

Along with laboratory tests for clinical chemistry, immunology, haematology and coagulation, the laboratory on Forchstrasse also runs an extensive and state-of-the-art department for immunohaematology which organizes blood substitution for all participating hospitals.

About Matternet

Matternet is the developer of the world’s leading platform for on-demand aerial delivery in urban areas. The company provides its technology platform as a service to healthcare, e-commerce and logistics organizations. In March 2017, Matternet became the first company in the world to receive authorization for full operations of drone logistics networks over densely populated areas in Switzerland. In May 2018, Matternet was selected to carry out the first drone logistics operations for US hospitals under the FAA's drone integration program. 

Note to editors: Additional information on drone logistics at Swiss Post can be found at www.swisspost.ch/drones.

Information:

Léa Wertheimer, Head of Media Unit, 058 431 00 00, presse@swisspost.ch
Zentrallabor Zürich, Regina Genz, Senior Laboratory Technician, Coordination/Customer Service, 044 386 45 36, regina.genz@zlz.ch
Matternet Media Unit, +1 650 260 27 27, press@matternet.us