Drone delivery relief is coming to a North Dakota city to promote social distancing. Israeli UAS startup Flytrex is partnering with EASE Drones, the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation and the City of Grand Forks to deliver food, medicine and other essential goods to residents’ backyards.
The program operates under the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial System Test Site. During the testing phase, select households can opt into the drone delivery relief service.
“In this time of crisis and social distancing, drones provide the ideal solution to bolster delivery capacity while keeping citizens safe at home,” Flytrex CEO Yariv Bash said.
“UAVs offer safe, swift and efficient delivery of much-needed goods with no risk of unnecessary human contact for consumers. We hope this initiative will alleviate hardships for as many of the people of Grand Forks as possible and help keep them safe and provided for.”
“With COVID-19 threatening the well-being of our community, our businesses, and our way of life, we are committed to easing the burden on our citizens by leveraging unique resources in this time of crisis,” said Grand Forks Mayor Michael R. Brown.
“With innovation in our community’s nature, we are proud to spearhead the use of drones to ensure the health and welfare of our citizens. With the help of Flytrex and EASE Drones, we are deploying UAVs to limit unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus. We hope other communities will follow.”
Three years ago, Flytrex launched on-demand urban drone delivery service in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2018, the company unveiled autonomous UAV food delivery at King’s Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks. Flytrex also joined a network of medical distribution centers last year that deploy drones for medical deliveries.
The World Economic Forum recently highlighted the positive contribution drone delivery relief has made in the global efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic. As officials continue to seek technologies to stop the pandemic’s spread and stabilize the global economy, drone delivery service and autonomous vehicles will likely play an sizable role going forward.
“Robotics in general, and especially commercial drones, have a major role to play in both of these endeavors,” DRONEII social scientist Millie Radovic said in a recent DroneLife guest post. “Medical drone deliveries can be a game changer for efforts to battle the virus. They can speed up deliveries of essential supplies and samples and reduce the exposure of crucial medical staff.”