Volansi, a leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), announced this week it has started a commercial healthcare drone delivery project in the town of Wilson, North Carolina involving “cold chain medicines”, reports prnewswire.com.
These products must be stored in a controlled low temperature compartment between 2-8 C from manufacture until the point of delivery to a service user or patient. Volansi’s drones will take off from Merck’s Wilson, N.C manufacturing site and fly to Vidant Healthplex-Wilson , a Vidant health clinic, as the first of three phases. North Carolina’s vast eastern rural and in some areas, remote environment, with just 1.4m population across 29 counties, can create challenges for accessing care.
Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi, said, “We’ve seen the world’s supply chain strained like never before from the impact of Coronavirus. There’s now an accelerated need for rapid advancements in supply chain technology, especially in healthcare.” Adding, “Drone delivery is one solution to getting critical supplies where they are needed, at the moment they are needed most.”
The project employs Volansi’s VOLY C10, an all-electric drone capable of carrying 10-pounds of cargo to locations up to 50 miles away. The VOLY C10’s VTOL system allows it to deliver fragile cargo with a “soft touch automated release” once the drone has landed at its destination. The system requires minimal infrastructure to operate and is capable of delivering on the returning flight “items to support order confirmation like temperature trackers and shipping confirmation.”
Craig Kennedy, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Management, Merck, said, “While our existing distribution system is strong, this pilot helps us explore new innovative delivery options that would complement our existing supply chain capabilities.” Brian Floyd, CEO of Vidant, added, “Innovation and collaboration help us increase access to care and meet our mission to improve health and well-being across eastern North Carolina.” He continued, “This project with Merck and Volansi is the beginning of an exciting endeavor to explore additional ways we can meet the unique needs of those we serve.”
Volansi is pursuing approval from the FAA to provide deliveries in additional locations, for phases two and three of the project.
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(News Source: https://www.prnewswire.com)