Merck medicines take flight in volansi drone delivery pilot project in rural north carolina

Volansi Inc., which provides middle-mile drone delivery services, has begun a commercial healthcare project in North Carolina. The Concord, Calif.-based company is working with Merck & Co. and Vidant Health. The nonprofit is affiliated with The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Volansi, Merck, and Vidant Health team up to improve access

Volansi is piloting delivery of cold-chain medicines from Merck’s manufacturing plant in Wilson, N.C. The pilot is the first part of a three-phase project to learn about how drone technology can improve access to quality care. Initial flights in the project resulted in the first drone delivery of temperature-controlled medicines within the U.S.

Volansi works with regulators

Volansi said it is collaborating with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program. The company plans to seek additional FAA approvals to provide deliveries in additional locations for Phases 2 and 3 of the project. The goal is to enable a flexible, on-demand, and responsive supply of critical medicines.

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