Independent drone delivery service Flirtey and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine chose New Jersey as the location to conduct the first U.S. test of ship-to-shore drone delivery on June 23. This isn’t the first time Flirtey has made headlines. Last year, their drone made the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone delivery to a health clinic in Virginia. This time however, Flirtey and Johns Hopkins aim to demonstrate the advantages of drones in the event that traditional infrastructure like roads and telephones is knocked out. The organizers also pointed out that, “eight of the ten largest cities in the world are coastal cities, and more than three billion people, or 44 percent of the world’s population, live within 95 miles of the coast,” to underscore the importance of ship-to-shore drone delivery.
The team behind the project will pilot drones carrying medical samples between an onshore medical relief camp at Cape May and a vessel stationed off the coast. The test mimics a scenario that played out only four years ago when Hurricane Sandy knocked out roads and power along much of the Northeast coast of the U.S. in 2012, where washed-out roads and power outages drove up response time, prompting a conversation among agencies about ways to reach critical areas faster. The ability of drones to bypass traditional transport infrastructure represents just such an improvement.
“Imagine a future where in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Flirtey drones rapidly deliver emergency medical supplies, food and water,” droned Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny. “This demonstration is helping to make that future a reality, and taking us one step closer to Flirtey’s mission to save lives and change lifestyles.”