Volansi trials medicine drone delivery in North Carolina

Middle-mile drone delivery company Volansi has announced it has begun delivering cold chain pharmaceuticals to a clinic in North Carolina.

The pilot drone delivery project involves sending cold chain medicines from pharmaceutical giant Merck’s Wilson, NC factory to Vidant Healthplex-Wilson, a Vidant Health clinic as part of a research project to assess how drones can work in improving access to healthcare.

North Carolina is a vast, rural state with 1.4 million people across 29 counties. Its large size and poor road infrastructure can limit access to healthcare, especially when it comes to getting temperature-controlled medications to those in need of them.“We’ve seen the world’s supply chain strained like never before from the impact of Coronavirus,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “There’s now an accelerated need for rapid advancements in supply chain technology, especially in healthcare. Drone delivery is one solution to getting critical supplies where they are needed, at the moment they are needed most.”

Volansi’s VOLY C10 is an all electric drone that can take a payload of up to 4kg to locations up to 50 miles away. It is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle, allowing it to deliver its cargo with a ‘soft touch’ automated release on landing at its destination. Thanks to being VTOL it requires minimal infrastructure for take-off and landing sites too.

“As a healthcare leader, Merck is very supportive of collaborations using new technologies to explore how one day we could help better serve the healthcare community. Our existing distribution system is strong, and this pilot helps us explore new innovative delivery options that would complement our existing supply chain capabilities,” said Craig Kennedy, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Management, Merck