In October, the White House announced that the Trump administration was instating a Drone Integration Pilot Program. The after-effects of this federal decree are becoming fairly apparent now. The city of Louisville hopes to utilize unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor crime scenes and most recently, North Carolina Department of Transportation received a bid from its state regarding aerial deliveries of blood and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics.
According to The News & Observer, the NCDOT has been keen on implementing drone technology for quite a while now. The NCDOT has apparently been assisting a group of private companies in their efforts to establish distribution facilities that would use UAVs to deliver supplies in North Carolina. According to North Carolina’s Director of Aviation, Bobby Walson, this is a really big deal for the state. “We’re really excited that drone technology may allow doctors and hospitals to save more lives in North Carolina soon,“ said Walson. “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,” he added.
Of course, we’ve seen drones being used as delivery tools in the medical field for quite some time now. Last September, we reported on California-based company Matternet partnering with Swiss Post in Lugano, Switzerland, and their successful deliveries of blood samples and other materials to and from clinics, laboratories, and hospitals. While the United States may be slightly behind in some regards, it seems like things are kicking into gear—slowly, surely, state by state.
Reportedly, North Carolina’s formal submission is just one of 210 applications to the Federal Aviation Administration and its new Drone Integration Pilot Program. Stay tuned, as we report on any developments and the inevitable response from the FAA.