NC Department of Transportation is leading a team of private companies that proposes to set up a network of distribution centers that would use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to make medical deliveries in North Carolina.
North Carolina hopes to use drones to deliver emergency supplies in the state, but several issues will need to be worked out first, according to Basil Yap, program manager of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems of the NC Division of Aviation.
Other countries are already using drones to deliver medical supplies. One company having great success is Zipline, which is carrying life-saving medicines and supplies via drone to remotes areas of Africa. Drone delivery is a bit more complicated in the United States due to the dense airspace and higher population.
The North Carolina proposal is one of 210 applications to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone Integration Pilot Program, a three-year effort launched by the Trump administration last fall to help determine how to expand the use of commercial drones in the U.S safely.
The proposal would include DOT working with precision mapping companies to design an unmanned traffic management system, which would consist of testing ways to map the location and flight paths of drones.
The state should know around May whether the FAA has approved their proposal.