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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in the US has submitted a proposal for the use of drones to deliver medical supplies in the state.

If approved, NCDOT will work with global drone delivery companies, including Matternet and Zipline, to roll out a medical distribution centres network that will implement unmanned medical supply delivery.

The initiative is expected to aid in the quicker delivery of essential medical results and supplies such as blood, which is currently provided to hospitals and testing facilities through courier.

NCDOT Aviation division director Bobby Walston said: “We’re really excited that drone technology may allow doctors and hospitals to save more lives in North Carolina soon.

“We’ve been researching and investing in drone technology for years at NCDOT.

“This proposal represents the next big step for us as we remain a national leader in the UAS field.”

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“The initiative is expected to aid in the quicker delivery of essential medical results and supplies such as blood.”

The proposal seeks to be part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone Integration Pilot Programme (IPP), which has received around 120 applications.

The programme is a three-year initiative to test the commercial use of drones for different applications, reported The News and Observer.

NCDOT spokesman James Pearce was quoted by the newspaper as saying: “We don’t exactly know when you’ll see these drones flying around here, but the technology that we’re trying to do already exists.”

NCDOT also collaborated with existing UAS software firms such as AirMap and PrecisionHawk to create an unmanned traffic management system that will track drones during their flight.