NCDOT testing drone delivery to Ocracoke Island

OBX

The trip only spans eight miles and takes about 18 minutes.

HATTERAS, N.C. (WAVY) — The location of Ocracoke Island at the Outer Banks creates issues getting much-needed supplies to the island. However, the might be changing thanks to delivery drones.

North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Division of Aviation announced on Friday that they completed two successful trial flights of a delivery drone from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island. The flights were in partnership with the NCDOT Ferry Division and U.S.-based drone logistics company Volansi.

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“This is a tremendous first step in better connecting Ocracoke Island to potentially life-saving supplies and equipment,” said Secretary of Transportation Eric Boyette. “Today, Ocracoke Island is accessible only by plane or by boat. What we’re working on here is an entirely new, third method of serving the needs of Ocracoke’s people.”

Officials say the test flights began Thursday at the Hatteras Village ferry dock and landed at the South Dock on the north end of Ocracoke Island. The trip only spans eight miles and takes about 18 minutes.

The first delivered a small survival kit, space blankets and a chocolate muffin. The second delivered bottles of water.

“This was just a small trial, but we hope to continue scaling this up to larger payloads and longer flights,” said NCDOT Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager Ben Spain. “Long-term, we could see deliveries coming to Ocracoke all the way from the mainland.”

The drones can carry up to five pounds.

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