Zipline, a Californian start-up that has made a name for itself by connecting with its drones, from 2016, isolated hospitals in Rwanda and Ghana, perhaps did not expect to meet such success on American soil. Its unmanned mini-planes which take off using a catapult are used there to ensure the delivery of medical products, including Covid-19 screening tests. Fast, precise (the product is dropped a few meters above the final destination with a small parachute) and inexpensive deliveries within a radius of up to 80 kilometers.
Since May 2020, the American start-up has been dispatching to medical teams located around Charlotte, North Carolina, protective equipment as well as screening tests provided by the Novant Health platform. Separately, the company has an agreement with retail giant Walmart to deliver health and wellness products to Arkansas.
Zipline is not an isolated case. Walmart has also reached an agreement with the company DroneUp to ensure, since September, the drone delivery at home of Covid-19 screening kits in the Las Vegas region. The service is free and can be arranged within a mile radius of the local store and the kit pickup time is indicated by text message. However, only individual houses can be served.
Similar operations were launched on February 5 by drones from Flirtey and distribution company Vault Health in northern Nevada. In Texas, Draganfly drones are tasked with delivering vaccine doses to offshore oil rigs. Even if they are carried out on a small scale, these multiple experiments – authorized by American civil aviation, which, for the occasion, accepted the organization of flights over populated areas – are part of a larger strategy promotion of delivery networks by unmanned aircraft on board.
These sanitary couriers must also pave the way and give credibility to the delivery of conventional commercial products
“We hope that the drone distribution of the Sticker Kits will help develop non-contact testing capabilities on a larger scale and continue to support the innovative methods Walmart plans to use in the future,” thus specifies a person in charge of the world number one of the mass distribution. These sanitary couriers must also pave the way and give credibility to the delivery of classic commercial products which, for half a dozen years, have been the subject of numerous experiments carried out locally by Walmart, Amazon, Google or UPS.
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