German regulator authorises Matternet BVLOS medical drone deliveries in Berlin

Matternet reports approval from the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA), Germany’s Federal Aviation Office, to operate the Matternet M2 drone delivery platform beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) in the heart of Berlin. This represents one of Berlin’s first BVLOS drone delivery network.

Labor Berlin, Europe’s largest hospital laboratory, provides diagnostics for 30 hospitals with more than 24,000 beds, including Charité, the largest university hospital in Europe and Vivantes, the largest municipal hospital group in Berlin. Labor Berlin handles more than 6 million lab samples per year from satellite laboratories across Berlin in its central lab. The drone delivery network aims to connect Labor Berlin’s central lab to affiliated hospitals for ultra-fast delivery of critical samples in the densely populated city. When fully operational, the network will serve millions of patients a year. Operations will formally begin early next year following clearance on federal state level.

The drone delivery network will target emergency diagnostics and will increase operational efficiency as well as cut down on carbon emissions from the nearly 250,000 miles per day that cars travel within the city, says the press release.

Matternet holds U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Type Certification and Production Certification, as well as BVLOS operational approvals from the FAA and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), in addition to the German LBA approval now. Matternet started delivering lab samples via drone in Switzerland in 2017 and in the US in 2019. It has transported tens of thousands of specimens for Ospedale Regionale di Lugano, University Zürich Hospital and Stadtspital Zürich in Switzerland and, through its partnership with UPS, Wakemed Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health in the U.S.

(Image: Matternet M2 drone carrying a lab sample for Labor Berlin)

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