A Wingcopter drone recently flew a distance of 16 miles (26 kilometers), transporting blood samples nearly twice as fast as ground-based vehicles, to showcase how the use of drones could improve emergency medical care in rural areas significantly.
The trial flights were carried out by Germany’s Greifswald University Medical Center as part of a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure, and Digitalization of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
These beyond the pilots’ visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights transported a pneumatic tube carrying 250 grams of blood samples. It took the Wingcopter drone an average of 18 minutes to complete the delivery – almost twice as fast as conventional transport.
The goal of Greifswald University Medical Center is to establish permanent flight connections between the establishment and hospitals in the surrounding region as soon as possible. As such, if in the future, a blood transfusion is required at a short notice in a rural area, transporting blood samples via drones could allow hospitals to determine an appropriate donor much more quickly.
Drones can also be used to support first responders on-site, for example by quickly transporting medications, transfusions, or emergency medical equipment such as defibrillators to the scene of an accident.
Video of drone flying blood samples for emergency medical care
According to Greifswald University’s Dr. Mina Baumgarten, the integration of new technologies into existing rescue and care systems is essential for the benefit of the people:
The next step on the way to realizing this must be to transfer tests into longer-term use under real-world circumstances; the conditions in the region are ideal for this.
Ansgar Kadura, cofounder and CSO of Wingcopter, agrees when he says:
With this project, we have demonstrated that we can also improve medical care and quality of life in rural areas in Germany. With our new unmanned aerial vehicle, the Wingcopter 198, this can be carried out even more efficiently in the future. We look forward to continued collaboration with the project team.
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