The drone’s engines are running, and I have 30 seconds to twist the red security switch on top of the hold the blue button, metal control panel, and then press the green button to launch the drone. It was like playing a high-tech Bop It, and the rendition was sending an almost seven-foot-long autonomous fix-winged aircraft zipping off its metal runway and within the sky.
I’m at drone distribution startup Zipline’s latest test site in California’s Central Valley to check out the new vehicle it was unveiling. ANd a red-winged, white-bodied, battery-powered glider with a 10-foot wingspan that’s planned to airdrop packages of medical supply midflight. The buttons are on a metal monitoring box mounted to a clear plastic shield that stands among my face and the drone. Don’t feel like you’re in an urgency, says Jeff Farr, a flight operator at Zipline, who’s wearing a gray shirt with Zipline stamped with his chest. In fact, each working at the company’s white-bright launch middle is wearing pretty much the similar shirt, just in several colors.
With a sound like a large zipper unzipping, the drone shoots along a dangling metal track. The bearing that propels the drone down the runway brakes at the end. A slingshotting the aircraft onward and into the air. I hold the blue button down for some seconds longer, letting the now-empty, nearly coffin-like bearing recoil back to its starting point.
A before generation of these drones has been giving donor blood for transfusions in Rwanda since October 2016. Zipline is also working on setting up a launch center in Tanzania, MIT Technology Investigate reports. But Zipline does not operate in the US till now. The company is hoping that the Federal Aviation Administration will give them consent soon to start flying. And giving in a number of various locations, including Nevada and North Carolina.
But a drone even a fleet of them won’t fix the health care deserts of village America. Sure, autonomous vehicles can deliver instance medical supplies to a remote location. But most of the time, skilled health care taskers will still require being on hand to administer them. And those are some and far among in village communities. Where less than 10 percent of doctors in the US practice, according to Stanford Medicine’s village health factsheet.