RALEIGH – A drone may save your life
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation has
submitted a proposal to be a part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone
Integration Pilot Program (IPP). If accepted, part of this proposal would bring
unmanned medical supply delivery, and the jobs that come with it, to the
The primary focus of NCDOT’s proposal is working with global drone
delivery companies, such as Matternet
and Zipline, to set up a
network of medical distribution centers that can use drones to make medical
deliveries. These companies currently only operate overseas.
Blood and other supplies currently travel by courier to hospitals
and testing facilities. With drones, medical providers would get the test
results and supplies they need much faster.
“We’re really excited that drone technology may allow doctors and
hospitals to save more lives in North Carolina soon,” said N.C. Director of
Aviation Bobby Walston. “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.”
The FAA is also interested in integrating drones and manned
aircraft safely, so NCDOT has partnered with existing UAS software companies
like AirMap and Raleigh-based PrecisionHawk to develop Unmanned Traffic
Management system that track drones as they fly.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) IPP is a three-year program
designed to safely test innovative small UAS operations in partnership with
state, local and tribal governments. The goal is to generate data and knowledge
for future UAS policymaking, specifically to learn about conducting complex
unmanned operations outside of the current regulatory structure.
NCDOT will find out by May of this year if the proposal has been
accepted by the FAA.