Drone Startup to Deliver Medical Supplies to Homes

Zipline to Perform Home Medicine Deliveries

Drone startup company Zipline will start delivering medicine and other supplies to the homes of patients. The company has signed an agreement with Intermountain Healthcare to use its drones to deliver medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Zipline has already been using drones to deliver medical supplies outside the U.S for several years Namely, the company would operate in the rural areas of Rwanda and Ghana since 2016. Now, Zipline hopes to expand and bring its drones to the U.S. The delivery service is expected to launch next spring and reach hundreds of patients per day within the first four years.

Zipline uses small high-speed drones that can go from 0 to 70 mph in less than a second. The drones are first loaded with medical supplies packaged in an insulated cardboard box. When the drone arrives at its destination, it will drop the package mid-flight using a parachute. The drones are entirely electric and powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. This is expected to help reduce pollution and traffic when compared to traditional delivery methods. Zipline plans to drop the packages at yards and driveways but that will require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to Zipline’s General Counsel Conor French, the drones will be able to reach approximately 90 percent of homes in the Salt Lake City metro area. The drones will also be autonomous and use satellites to navigate. French stated that the drones can support payloads of up to four pounds.

“Making access to healthcare faster and more convenient will lead to better health outcomes for our patients,” said Marc Harrison, MD, president, and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “And with Zipline, we’re making the idea of true care at home a reality for many of our patients.”

Zipline and Intermountain Healthcare will first focus on delivering specialty pharmaceuticals and to homes within a 50-mile radius of the Salt Lake-area distribution center. However, they hope to expand and deliver a wide variety of medical supplies and products.

Zipline has seen massive growth in recent years and has made over 215,000 deliveries, many of which included Covid vaccine doses. Earlier this year, the San Francisco-based startup company raised $250 million at a valuation of $2.75 billion. With this new partnership, Zipline hopes to provide patients with instant access to medication and healthcare from the comfort of their own homes.

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