Delivering COVID-19 vaccines by drone is certainly possible. Currently, Volansi is delivering medical supplies to rural patients by drone in North Carolina. In this short video interview on NBC New York, co-founder, and CEO of Volansi, Hannan Parvizian discusses how the company was able to develop the first drone delivery service for temperature-controlled medications from manufacturers directly to health care facilities via their vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) technology.
Delivering COVID-19 vaccines by drone, Volansi's Hannan Parvizian explains
Co-founder and CEO of Volansi, Hannan Parvizian explains that:
“Volansi uses our unmanned aerial vehicles or drones to transport medical supplies vaccines and other critical supplies to patients directly from the manufacturer and what we use is a so-called vertical takeoff and landing technology that means we can take off right in front of the manufacturing facility and land at the administration facility, whether it's a hospital or a health plex and we are using our Voly C10 platforms that as you mentioned have 10 pounds of payload capacity and can cover up to a distance of 50 miles.”
Similar to some other drone makers, Volansi combines a fixed-wing drone design with the benefits of a more traditional quadcopter design. This allows the drone to take off and land almost anywhere. Once the drone is at a safe altitude its fixed-wing design provides a much larger operating range, in this case. up to 50 miles.
The Voly C10 drone has another unique aspect is that the drone has a temperature-controlled storage compartment, which is important to safely transport medical supplies. Parvizian tells us that:
“In this case, we can transport vaccines up to minus 70 degrees Celsius or minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, which is really important for a lot of vaccines including Ebola and probably some versions of the new COVID vaccines.”
And while the COVID-19 pandemic has really shown the added value of drones for safe and fast deliveries, Parvizian says that he would have hoped for some sort of regulatory breakthrough and acceleration as a result of that.
And while vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) technology allows Volansi to essentially deliver from and to any location there are still quite some hurdles to overcome.
“We have to really try to integrate these vehicles and these platforms into existing air traffic and into existing airspace,” Parvizian says. “For example, North Carolina where we're trying to delivering these vaccines. To medical supplies in rural areas, we still have to cross trafficked high traffic areas with crossing highways and take off and land from very confined spaces within our customers' perimeters and so there's a lot of non-technical challenges beyond the actual platform that we have to overcome as a company.”
Parvizian tells us that he doesn't really see drones delivering consumer items such as a toothbrush as the economics don't quite work for those products. However, that is very different when you're talking about urgent and life-saving medical supplies and vaccines to customers in the healthcare industry.
Over the next twelve months, Volansi hopes to expand its drone delivery services beyond North Carolina to the rest of the United States.
You can watch the entire interview below.
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