Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo told AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2021 attendees in his keynote on 19 August that the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry is held back “a framework designed for a 500,000-pound aircraft, a 200-ton aircraft, flown by multiple pilots carrying hundreds of people. And we’re now trying to apply that framework to a 40-pound Styrofoam airplane carrying 5-pound payloads, flying predetermined routes using some of the most advanced technology every built.”
He described a medical distribution centre in Ghana which can handle up to 20 aircraft at a time, flying up to 110 km per delivery, 24 hours a day, beyond visual line of sight, and communicating via local cellular networks. Zipline is also delivering medical supplies in US in partnership with Novant Health in North Carolina, however regulatory progress is holding the industry back.
Keller Rinaudo called for outcomes-based regulations – such as found in healthcare access and emission reduction – and rules that balance consideration of UAS technology’s risks and benefits. Safety still remains the top priority in this approach, he said.
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