With a $1M state grant a university plans to deliver PPE kits by drone to fight COVID-19

With a $1 million state grant, the Elizabeth City State University plans to use drones to deliver Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) test kits to help fight COVID-19 in rural areas of Northeastern North Carolina.

With a $1M state grant a university plans to deliver PPE kits by drone to fight COVID-19

The idea is that staff and students will be using drones to deliver PPE test kits from the campus of Elizabeth City State University, tucked along the Pasquotank River to rural areas in Northeastern North Carolina, reports the Gaston Gazette.

To do so the university will use a $1 million state grant to purchase a drone to start delivering PPE and COVID-19 testing supplies to hard-to-reach rural areas.

“Drones are mostly limited to urban areas,” said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of ECSU’s School of Science, Aviation, Health, and Technology. “We are now putting infrastructure in place that in rural areas we can deliver to the people who are affected.”

According to the news outlet, in mid-June, the UNC Board of Directors partnered with the North Carolina Policy Collaborative at UNC-Chapel Hill to grant each of the state’s six public Historically Black Colleges and Universities $1 million dollars for COVID-19 initiatives.

DroneX’s take

$1 million dollars to buy a drone and start a delivery program is a pretty hefty budget, it will be interesting to see what route the university will pick. You can make deliveries by drone within the same company, within line-of-sight, and within state lines. Especially if you use a more-or-less off-the-shelf drone this would not be very complicated. However, if they want to use a heavily modified or even custom drone and deliver directly to consumers, there will be a whole lot more involved. Not just the expenses of drone development but also the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval process to operate as an air carrier. If they choose the latter route, $1 million dollars might not cut it at all. We’ll keep an eye on what will happen here. Either way, super exciting stuff and it makes me want to be back in school again! Can you imagine being involved in projects like these during college? Awesome! 

 

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About the author

Haye Kesteloo

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