The Research Triangle region made national news again this week for transportation. Only this time, the story wasn’t about private or public passenger transportation — although the results will absolutely benefit the public.

RTA bronze member WakeMed Health and Hospitals is the host site of the first drone-based continuing commercial delivery service in the country. A startup drone partner began delivering medical supplies via unmanned quadcopter drone to WakeMed’s flagship Raleigh campus and the location of Wake County’s only Level I trauma center hospital.

The drone shipments will create an opportunity to increase speed and reduce costs for each delivery — in this case, of medical samples and specimens. As flexible, scalable, and high-impact mobility solutions go, this is about as good as it gets.

Here are some of the reasons why.

While you and I may not be flying from point A to B via drone anytime soon, it is great that needed supplies can do so. Drones can avoid traffic congestion, parking issues, and other travel complications, so as to provide a reliable and cost-effective form of local, time-sensitive shipping.

Activating the use of three dimensions greatly increases the travel capacity between various locations, which will enable faster development of products and services.

Just as importantly, this frees up our roads from at least some unnecessary delivery truck runs, which will reduce congestion and energy consumption.

Obviously we haven’t even scratched the surface of the potential numbers and types of products that can be shipped via drone — and the potential benefits to existing and as-yet-unthought of products, services, and locations. Indeed, there will be newly unlocked value in land as sites now become more flexible in their potential uses thanks to three dimensional shipping.

I am very pleased that the nation’s first continuing flying drone commercial delivery service was launched here in the Research Triangle region.

North Carolina is first in flight — again.

Joe Milazzo II, PE 
RTA Executive Director

post reference: th3.2019.13

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