The ten-minute drone flight from southwestern Baltimore to a nearby hospital has been hailed as a major milestone. The delivery was the result of a three-year collaboration project between engineers, physicians and researchers at the University of Maryland and the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (LLF), a non-profit donation organization.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pressure knowing there’s a person waiting for that organ, but it’s also a special privilege to be a part of this critical mission,” Matthew Scassero, director of the university's unmanned aerial test site, said in a statement.
The notion of drones carrying drugs to people in rural areas or developing nations might seem futuristic, but it’s already happening.
An American startup recently launch a program in Ghana to widen access to much-needed medication through drone delivery. Zipline is working with the Ghanaian government to operate 30 drones from four distribution centers. It intends to run 600 flights each day to distribute vaccines, blood and medication to 2,000 health facilities. The scheme has been called the largest drone delivery network on the planet.
“If we can prove this works, we can look at much greater distances of unmanned organ transport,” said Charlie Alexander, chief executive officer of The LLF, in a statement about the University of Maryland project. “This would minimize the need for multiple pilots and flight time and address safety issues we have in our field.”