Here’s another great article about ZIpline and the fact that this drone company is ready to deploy medical drone deliveries to fight COVID-19 across the United States. It makes you wonder if the FAA will be able to keep up and make this life-saving service a reality.
Evan Ackerman writes for IEEE Spectrum that:
A drone delivery system that covers two countries in Africa could quickly distribute critical medical supplies in the United States
Zipline is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to try and expedite safety and regulatory approvals for an emergency humanitarian mission with the goal of launching a medical supply delivery network that could help people maintain social distancing or quarantine when necessary by delivering urgent medication nearly to their doorsteps.
When everyone’s staying at home, that’s the ideal time for robots to be making deliveries in a contactless way.
For the past year, Zipline, working closely with the FAA, has been planning on a localized commercial trial of a medical drone delivery service that was scheduled to begin in North Carolina this fall. While COVID is more urgent, the work that’s already been done towards this trial puts Zipline in a good position to move quickly, says Rinaudo.
“All of the work that we did with the IPP [UAS Integration Pilot Program] is even more important, given this crisis. It means that we’ve already been working with the FAA in detail, and that’s made it possible for us to have a foundation to build on to help with the COVID-19 response.” Assuming that Zipline and the FAA can find a regulatory path forward, the company could begin setting up distribution centers that can support hospital networks for both interfacility delivery as well as contactless delivery to (eventually) neighborhood points and perhaps even homes. “It’s exactly the use case and value proposition that I was describing for Africa,” Rinaudo says.
Within 18 months, Zipline could theoretically cover the entire US, although he admits “that would be an insanely fast roll-out.”
“In the U.S. there’s this sense that this technology is impossible, whereas it’s already operating at multi-national scale, serving thousands of hospitals and health facilities, and it’s completely boring to the people who are benefiting from it,” Rinaudo says. “People in the U.S. have really not caught on that this is something that’s reliable and can dramatically improve our response to crises like this.”
It seems that Zipline is ready to deploy to medical drone deliveries across the United States. I wonder if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can move just as fast and make this life-saving service a reality sooner rather than later.
Be sure to read the entire article here.