Zipline drones to start delivery of Michigan Medical prescriptions in 2024


Michigan Medicine, a healthcare provider and part of the University of Michigan’s medical school, is set to leverage Zipline’s new drone delivery system to more than double the number of prescriptions it fills each year. The new system is expected to be launched next year, serving hundreds of thousands of patients around Ann Arbor’s Washtenaw County. The drone delivery platform, which involves the installation of Zipline’s loading portals in customer work zones, will enable orders to be placed in compact delivery droids as soon as they’re ready. The smaller craft will then be lifted by transport drones for deliveries to patients’ homes, with the self-guiding droids being winched down to delivery spots as small as a patio table or set of stairs from an elevation of 300 feet.

According to Michigan Medicine, the new drone delivery system will enable the organization to more than double the volume of prescriptions its internal pharmacies fill each year by using UAVs that can make 10-mile flights in just 10 minutes. The drone delivery system will serve patients with complex or rare diseases that require frequent refills of temperature-sensitive or otherwise tricky prescriptions. The aerial option is designed to be faster, cheaper, and less polluting than current ground transportation.

Michigan Medicine is working with Zipline to integrate the new automated drone delivery system into its existing prescription facilities, as well as a new specialty care prescription center set to open later this year. The Zipline drones can make round-trip deliveries within a given 10-mile radius or 24-mile one-way flights, with recharging occurring in the network of docking stations that the company is currently setting up.

“By deploying Zipline, we are able to make deliveries faster than ever before, saving time for both patients and our medical workers, enabling faster, affordable pharmacy care that leads to better patient outcomes,” said Marschall S. Runge, CEO of Michigan Medicine and dean of the University of Michigan Medical School. “We’re thrilled to soon provide the next frontier of care to our patients with Zipline.”

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