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Medical supply drone deliveries coming to North Carolina

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Drone deliveries may not be too far away if a test program proves the concept to be safe and workable in a civilian airspace environment.

The long-promised drone revolution for medicine could soon be a reality in North Carolina if the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s application to a test pilot, federally-funded program to explore drones for use in medical supply transportation is approved.

A test program would involve establishing a series of distribution centers using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) like drones for medical delivery across North Carolina. The companies signed on to the project, Matternet and Zipline, currently operate in Europe but not in the United States.

drone delivery

A Zipline drone makes a delivery. The California-based start-up company is part of a team led by the N.C. Department of Transportation that is seeking FAA approval to test the use of drones to make medical deliveries in North Carolina. Courtesy of Zipline.

Bobby Walson, the state Director of Aviation, said “We’re really excited that drone technology may allow doctors and hospitals to save more lives in North Carolina soon…We’ve been researching and investing in drone technology for years at NCDOT. This proposal represents the next big step for us as we remain a national leader in the UAS field.”

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