Zipline drones will deliver medicine to communities in Utah

Zipline has partnered with a healthcare provider that serves the Intermountain region of the US to use its drones to deliver medication to customers. The Company has begun conducting drone deliveries to select Intermountain Healthcare patients in the Salt Lake Valley area. Right now it can only drop for local communities within several miles of its distribution center. However, Zipline intends to add more centers over the next five years so it can eventually expand beyond the Salt Lake Valley and ship medicines throughout Utah.

As TechCrunch notes that Zipline has long used drones for delivery in Africa, and only after the pandemic did it start doing drops in the US. In 2020, the company partnered with Novant Health to ship personal protective equipment and other types of medical equipment to frontline healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients in North Carolina. Later that year, it signed a deal with Walmart to supply health and wellness items to customers near the retailer’s Northwest Arkansas headquarters.

In June of this year, the FAA authorized Zipline to conduct long-range commercial on-demand drone deliveries in the United States. The company said the certification it received from the agency allows it to significantly expand its services in the country. That means we’ll see it expand its coverage with current partners and maybe sign agreements with more partner companies in the future.

Intermountain Healthcare patients in the Salt Lake Valley area can now sign up for zipline deliveries. The company then assesses their suitability based on their location, yard size – their target delivery area must be at least two car parks in size – and their surrounding airspace. Zipline’s drones are six-foot gliders with a 10-foot wingspan. These drones fly 300 to 400 feet above the ground, although they drop to about 60 to 80 feet to deliver packages with a parachute.

Bijal Mehta, Zipline’s Head of Global Fulfillment Operations, said in a statement:

“Think back to the last time you had a doctor’s visit and then had to hike to the pharmacy for your prescription, making an already time-consuming experience that much more tiring, or the last time your child and family got into the car with sickness to pack just to get cold meds. Zipline and Intermountain Healthcare work together to remove the burdens that make it harder to get the care you need, when you need it. We believe immediate delivery is a key enabler of the future of healthcare, and we’re excited to bring our service to the Salt Lake City area to make people’s lives better, easier, and healthier.”

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Russell Falcon

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