Drones are saving lives during coronavirus: Zipline CEO
Zipline co-founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo says the company is delivering life-saving medicine via drone to the most difficult-to-reach places on Earth amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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In a world laser-focused on contactless delivery during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one drone company is trying to expand its presence in the United States sooner rather than later.
Keller Rinaudo, the co-founder and CEOthe drone delivery service Zipline, told FOX Business' Liz Claman on Wednesday his company has teamed up with the Federal Aviation Administration so it can launch in the United States in about two weeks.
"The cool thing is actually we've been partnered with the FAA for several years," Rinaudo said during "The Claman Countdown." "They actually have all the authority necessary to make this happen."
Zipline's drones can deliver "99.9 percent of the products that are typically moving through a health care system," Rinaudo said.
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Each package Zipline delivers outside of the U.S. weighs about 4.4 pounds and each of its distribution centers use about 30 aircraft to make about 500 deliveries daily. Rinaudo said that equates to each distribution center being able to deliver about 1.1 tons of protective gear, vaccines, blood treatments and other types of personal protective equipment, which is something that is still needed across the country, that could be delivered to combat the coronavirus.
"We think that this is a really obvious kind of technology to be using when there's a pandemic that's forcing people to stay at home," Rinaudo explained. "There's a really good time to be using robots to make deliveries in a contactless and instant way."
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Zipline, which was founded in 2014, has a growing international presence but had yet to expand in the United States. The company builds distribution centers which include autonomous vehicles that operate in those centers. The planes, which take off via complicated launchers, zip around the sky at speeds up to about 60 miles per hour and fly "fully autonomously out to the GPS coordinates of a hospital or health facility and then deliver the product that a nurse or doctor needs to save a patient's life," Rinaudo noted.
When the global coronavirus crisis occurred, their FAA conversation became crucial for not only those suffering from the deadly virus but for those with pre-existing health conditions.
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"There are a lot of patients with chronic care needs who might typically go into a hospital, who now need to stay at home, both because we need to keep those hospital beds open, for COVID-19 patients, but also because those are vulnerable populations," Rinaudo said.
Rinaudo hopes Zipline can partner with a few American hospitals to extend the reach of health care to people's homes in order to combat the continued spread of coronavirus.
Zipline is not the only company tossing its efforts in the ring when it comes to medication delivery services via drone.
Google parent company Alphabet's drone service, Wing, recently saw an increase in deliveries to customers stuck at home amid coronavirus. However, that service only operates in one American location: Christiansburg, Virginia.
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