Two hospitals in Lugano, Switzerland will start swapping lab samples via aerial drones. Powered by the Swiss Post, the mail carrier says it’s the first commercial use of drones in an urban area—even though it’s not the first use in the medical field.
Swiss Post has conducted 70 test flights between the pair of medical facilities throughout March, but announced Friday it will establish regular service by next year, The Verge reports.
The scenario is ideal for proving the value of delivery systems given how light the payload of medical samples can be. Delivering them in a timely manner is usually important and aerial drones skip the problem of hitting traffic, especially in urban environments like Lugano—a city with a population of 150,000, according to Recode.
Safety regulations have proven to be an impediment for developing drone delivery systems elsewhere, but the exchange has been given the green light from Swiss Aviation officials, the Swiss Post said in a press release.
In the case of a complete electronic failure, the drone, made by American manufacturer Matternet, immediately releases a parachute to prevent harming anyone on the ground.