Drones will soon deliver medicine and blood to remote areas in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington. California-based company Zipline, which began operations in Rwanda in July, is looking to equalize health outcomes in rural areas of the United States.
Amar Toor, writing for The Verge, reports that following Zipline’s partnership with Rwanda, the White House expressed interest in using Zipline’s services domestically. According to Toor, Zipline will likely receive an exemption from Federal Aviation Administration regulations and begin operations six months after that.
While this technology has the potential to vastly improve the quality of medical care in remote locations, Zipline’s need to seek approval or exemption from the FAA highlights an inhibitive regulatory structure that requires innovators to seek and receive approval.
Moreover, an approach that allows government to grant privileges to some while denying those privileges to others incentivizes cronyism. To truly allow for technology to save lives and improve well-being, regulators should strive for an approach of permissionless innovation to allow for open competition and faster adoption of new technologies.