College Station, TX, the home of Texas A&M, is the first city to enjoy drone prescription deliveries from Amazon. The service, which started in 2022 with (non-medical) Amazon shipments, now includes “more than 500 medications” for common conditions like the flu, asthma and pneumonia.
Customers can order their medications online and receive them by air within an hour, without any extra cost. The drones fly at a safe height of 40 to 120 meters, avoiding obstacles on the way.
The drones use cameras and other sensors to navigate and land safely at the customer’s home. They lower themselves to a delivery marker and drop off the package when the area is clear.
Then they fly back to their base. Amazon says the drones are equipped with a neural network that prevents them from crashing into people, pets and power lines.
“Customers pick up packages without any interaction with the drone,” says Amazon. Amazon Pharmacy’s chief medical officer, Dr. Vin Gupta, said in a blog post on Wednesday that drone delivery is a significant step forward in reducing the time between diagnosis and treatment.
“We’re taught from the first days of medical school that there is a golden window that matters in clinical medicine,” he said. “That’s the time between when a patient feels unwell and when they’re able to get treatment. We’re working hard at Amazon to dramatically narrow the golden window from diagnosis to treatment, and drone delivery marks a significant step forward.”