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White House pilots drone delivery to Maryland island

Smith Island and Crisfield would receive deliveries of medical supplies.

A UAV hovers above the #BIW15 drone showcase. (Photo by Tyler Waldman)

Some of Maryland’s southernmost locales in the Chesapeake Bay may seem like ideal destinations for pristine drone footage. Under a new program, UAVs can help them get supplies, too.
Smith Island and Crisfield are among the areas being targeted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and private firms for demonstration flights of the drone deliveries, Delmarva Today reports. It was among a host of new announcement on drone delivery policy from the White House.
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The flights to a clinic in Crisfield and the three communities Smith Island still need regulatory approval, and would begin about six months after that.
The flights, which would transport supplies such as blood and medicine, are among the latest examples of drone delivery. Earlier this summer, a Johns Hopkins professor worked with a drone delivery startup to complete the first ship-to-shore UAV delivery in the U.S. That effort is on a course to use the deliveries in developing countries, but the latest project shows a potential need in the U.S., too.
Smith Island is located 15 miles offshore. Delmarva Today says the area was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, and struggles with the loss of the local seafood industry. Crisfield is Maryland’s southernmost town. Southern Maryland is also a growing site of drone development, with a University of Maryland test site and lab that opened there in 2014.

Companies: White House
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