As part of an experimental delivery project by the Israeli Innovation Authority and the Ministry of Transport, a drone was used to transport medical tests including blood, urine, and coagulation samples.
Flying approximately 9.7 miles (15.6km) between Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and Sha’ar Menashe Mental Health Center in Israel, the drone carried a 2.2 lbs (2kg) payload that contained medical samples from 30 volunteers.
The basic idea was to figure out if the quality of the samples was compromised during the drone flight. Therefore, an equal number of samples from the same volunteers were transported through a conventional motor vehicle as well. After analyzing both sets of samples, doctors determined that the results were similar.
Dr. Maanit Shapira, director of the laboratory division at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, said:
Laboratory samples are often transferred between medical centers, typically by automobile. This presents the risk of travel time delaying decisions on the right treatment for patients. When scaled for routine use, the delivery of samples via drone will help speed up the flow of critical information for both the patients and the medical teams.
The delivery trial was made possible through the use of FlightOps drone operating system (OS). The multi-drone system allows for the scalability of drone operations by leveraging high levels of autonomy and cloud connectivity. According to company CEO Shay Levy:
Using the FlightOps OS, drone providers can fly more missions over longer distances with increased safety and reduced costs. Our technology will enable the vision of drone deliveries as a preferred last-mile solution. Medical decisions should not be impacted by transportation and logistics, and we are proud to be involved with the Israeli Innovation Authority’s project to send lab and medical tests via drone delivery. We hope drone deliveries will lead to better medical outcomes and help save lives.
It’s worth mentioning that FlightOps software also powers Walmart’s drone delivery partner DroneUp. Walmart recently shared plans to expand its DroneUp delivery network to 34 sites by the end of the year, with the potential to reach four million American households across six states.