Zipline’s first American launch is happening now despite that the US-based startup has been in running operations in Africa for several years. The successful COVID-19 response in Ghana have become a boost for the drone delivery firm.
The delivery firm signed in a two-year partnership with North Carolina’s Novant Health has started its operations in the US.
According to Angela Yochem, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer, Novant Health, “The COVID-19 pandemic has tasked us with being even more nimble and innovative in how we solve complex challenges. Fast-tracking our medical drone transport capability is just one example of how we’re pioneering in the health care industry, which is known for being resistant to change.”
The operation provides contactless distribution of personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to Novant Health frontline medical teams in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area. The operation helps position Novant Health, which operates 15 hospitals and nearly 700 locations in the southeastern United States, to adapt quickly to the evolving pandemic and could lead to innovative uses such as testing, drug trials, and vaccine distribution in the future.
Zipline will provide ongoing drone logistics flights in Class-D controlled airspace, where all air traffic is actively managed by the FAA, under a part 107 waiver issued to a major U.S. healthcare system. True to its roots, North Carolina is once again “First in Flight.”
Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said: “And we’re proud to partner with Novant Health, a true leader in health care innovation, to begin helping in the United States as well. We’re likely in for a long-term fight against COVID-19. Using contactless drone logistics will be an important tool in that effort. The work underway here in North Carolina will provide the rest of the country with a blueprint for how to build the most resilient and responsive health care system possible.”