Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on emerging solutions that mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Here, we are taking a look at some of the top drone delivery solutions.
Heat Map: 5 Top Drone Delivery Solutions
We use a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights interesting examples out of 41 relevant solutions. Vayu, Avy, EHang, Flirtey, and 3L Robotics develop 5 top solutions to watch out for!
Vayu – Vertical Take-Off & Landing (VTOL) Drone
Drones that feature vertical takeoffs and landings, as well as efficient, high-speed horizontal flights, are suitable for a variety of uses, especially in healthcare. VTOL drones deliver blood and other medical supplies to hospitals located in congested areas with weak infrastructure or issues with transportation or other emergency cases.
Vayu is a US-based company developing a drone that looks like an airplane and takes off vertically, thus requiring no runway. The drone autonomously transports up to 2 kg (4.4 lb) over 100 km (62 mi) to provide affordable, fast, and reliable delivery of blood samples, vaccines, or other vital goods.
Flirtey – Ambulance Drone
Ambulance drones combine drone and cardiac defibrillator properties along with a communication channel. In the case of cardiac arrest, the emergency services send the drone to the patient location. The caller is instructed on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and start using the defibrillator until the emergency services arrive at the spot.
US-based company Flirtey provides drones to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs), responding to emergency cardiac arrest calls. Both an ambulance and a Flirtey drone carrying an AED are dispatched during an emergency. Response time for ambulances varies a lot depending on multiple factors. These include the distance from the victim, traffic and call volume, and especially nowadays, because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Flirtey’s delivery drones fly directly to the victim and deliver critical aid urgently.
Avy – Temperature-Controlled Drone
Drone companies are taking proactive measures to respond to the needs for pandemic prevention and control. These measures improve the delivery speed and increase the efficiency of transporting COVID-19 samples, quarantine supplies, or other specific samples that require special transportation conditions, such as a particular temperature or humidity. Drone delivery solutions relieve personnel shortage and reduce contact between samples and personnel in the transportation process, containing the spread of the virus.
Avy is a Dutch startup that focuses on the development of autonomous aircraft and wing drones for healthcare transportation. The startup’s medical drone takes off and land anywhere and carries temperature-controlled medical goods like blood products and medicines. The drone flies autonomously, has a one-hour flight time, and can cover up to 70 km (43 mi).
3L Robotics – Automated Parcel Deliveries
There are situations when traditional modes of medical care delivery are not possible. In cases of epidemics, natural disasters, or other emergencies, treatment requires modern technologies that combine various features like remote healthcare and real-time health monitoring. Likewise, a telemedical drone finds the exact location through GPS and transfers customized equipment kits or medications to the destination point. This ensures efficient patient care in event of emergencies even if conventional transport options are unavailable or restricted.
Czech startup 3L Robotics develops drones for automated parcel deliveries. The startup installs drone heliports at hospitals and homes or office buildings to deliver medical items. Upon placing order for medicine or medical device, the customer or patient needs to provide the location of the heliport for rooftop delivery. The startup’s drones and heliports also integrate a communication system to achieve precision, ensuring reliability and safety of service. This allows patients to avoid visiting hospitals during lockdowns or outbreaks and avoid exposure to the infection.
EHang – Transportation Drone
Nowadays, drones are reliable medical delivery platforms for laboratory samples, pharmaceuticals, and emergency medical equipment. They also have the potential to be used for patient transportation. In emergencies, drones transfer the patient much faster than other vehicles as they circumvent traffic jams and function in any weather conditions. Currently, such solutions are still under development, but some of them are already on the testing and quality certification stage.
EHang is a China-based drone manufacturing company that designs EHang 184, an electric-powered autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV). The drone delivers low-weight medical supplies, including blood and organs, for emergency use. With the capacity to carry a single passenger for 23 minutes of flight at sea level, the company plans to put it to daily use. EHang’s AAVs use 4G/5G as the high-speed wireless transmission channel to communicate with the command and control center, thus enabling remote control of the aircraft and real-time transmission of flight data.
How To Flatten The Curve?
This is an unprecedented situation for many of us across the world. The SARS outbreak in the early 2000s claimed 774 lives. That toll was enough to drive research & development and easier healthcare solutions. The fact that several mobile health, e-health, remote health, and diagnostics startups and companies are able to respond during a real epidemic is encouraging. With thousands of deaths already, we expect to see numerous new companies offering technology-driven solutions to help doctors, nurses, other health workers, and the larger public.