Amid the current health crisis, people have been observed to come up with clever ways to overcome limitations, given that the public are instructed to follow social distancing and other safety precautions when in public. Unless its absolutely necessary, individuals are encouraged to isolate themselves at home. As such, deliveries of food and essential items have become the new normal. However, one town in North Carolina is testing a new platform using drones thereby safely servicing the needs of its residents.

The concept is not exactly new and was previously proposed by big businesses such as Amazon. In fact, last year, Ford previewed its plans for a delivery system that uses self-driving vehicles and bi-pedal robots that can climb up stairs. The latter might still be far off in the future, but recreational and commercial drones are readily available.

Initial testing will be conducted in the town of Holly Springs, which will see drones transporting goods from a local shopping establishment to various homes. While other options such as curbside pickups and regular deliveries are still available, this still exposes people to contact with others who might be potentially infected by the coronavirus. This remote delivery process, on the other hand significantly reduces the risk of transmission.

Fox News details that the company providing the service is Flytrex with the help of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. This would make it easier for their program to earn the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration for its UAS Integration Pilot Program.

The service provider already has extensive experience working in the drone delivery segment with previous projects in Iceland, Israel, and North Dakota. In an Interview with Flytrex head of U.S. operations Wes Shover, it was noted that the company wants technology to be adaptable to change.

"When shelter-in-place orders were established, immediately people were wondering how they were going to go about day-to-day life," he stated. "People, especially during COVID, still can receive goods and items like food that they need, without undue exposure to COVID," Shover added.

Drone navigation
Using NanoMap, even small drones can navigate obstacle-ridden environments at a constant speed of 20mph MIT/CSAIL

According to Flytrex, upon arrival at its destination, the drone will remain airborne at an estimated 65 feet and will then lower the package. If the items exceed the 6.6-lbs load limit, it will complete the orders via multiple trips.