Drone flies for over an hour to complete first unmanned kidney delivery

Researchers at the University of Maryland carried out a test which saw a drone successfully deliver a kidney by air.

The UAV flew for over an hour as part of the test and delivered the organ which, after testing, was still in perfect condition for a transplant if needed.

The team used a kidney which was good enough for testing but not quite fit for a real life human patient.

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The drone used for the mission was a DJI M600 Pro, chosen because its six motors sit directly under their rotors, keeping heat away from the HOMAL, the specialist device used to carry organs.

According to a report from Business Insider, the drone carried the kidney on 14 missions as part of the experiment with the longest lasting just over an hour.

The longest distance travelled was around 3 miles, a marker chosen as it is often the distance between US cities and their nearest hospitals.

Following the post-mission biopsies, scientists found that no damage was recorded and even noted that the organ had been subject to less vibration stress than it would during a regular delivery mission aboard a turboprop plane.

Dr Joseph Scalea of the Univeresity of Maryland Medical Center told IEEE: “I think that what we did here is very cool, very exciting. This is the first step among a series that I think will get patients closer to their life-saving organs quicker, and with better outcomes.”

He went on to describe that he believes another test to actually deliver a kidney and transplant it successfully might be achieved “early in 2019”.

However, people working at the university did acknowledge the steps around speed and regulation which need to be taken first.

Tags : drone deliveryFlight TimeHealthHealthcareTransplantUniversity of Maryland
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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