Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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26 unmanned systems inside August/September 2016 ugust/Septe August/September 2016 August/September 2016 be August/September 2016 0 August/September 2016 6 August/September 2016 AIR AERIAL SERVICES years now. They just needed the right partners to help them move forward, which they found through Zipline and its drone's capabilities and the UPS Foundation's logistic expertise. While drone delivery makes it possible to cou- rier needed vaccines to remote areas in harsh weather, it isn't without its challenges. Both blood and the vaccines must be kept at a certain temperature during transport, Siddiqui said, or they will be unusable when they arrive. Anyone working with the payloads must be properly trained to ensure the products arrive at the right temperature and that deliveries go smoothly. Zipline has been developing the UAS, known as Zips, for the last two years, software team lead Ryan Oksenhorn said. The drones have the abil- ity to complete about 150 blood deliveries a day to transfusing facilities in the western half of the country. The development team had to overcome a variety of challenges, such as finding a way to make deliveries without actually landing at the site and creating a UAS designed for this type of long-distance delivery. "Virtually all emergency medical products are small and lightweight but also high value," Oksenhorn said, noting clinics that once only received deliveries a few times a year will now receive deliveries a few times a day. "It makes perfect sense to use this technology very cheaply and very quickly to travel long distances. Right now it costs $10,000 to emergency lift someone in a helicopter to go to the hospital if they need blood. For orders of magnitude less money and less time you can deliver the blood with a drone. There's no need to send several humans in a he- licopter. You can send the blood directly to the person who needs it." Oksenhorn said the work in Rwanda is just a start and he hopes to see Zips used to deliver blood, vaccines and medication in remote loca- tions all over the world. In fact, Zipline recently announced it will soon begin flying missions in the U.S., according to the company. Zipline is partnering with Ellu- men, ASD Healthcare and Bloodworks North- During the first phase of the 18-month proj- ect, which is expected to begin in mid-August, the UAS will deliver blood to transfusion fa- cilities. The blood will primarily be used to save women experiencing postpartum hemorrhaging, which is a common problem in the country, Gavi Manager of Global Operational Partnerships Mozammil Siddiqui said. After evaluating and determining how well the UAS were operated, how many deliveries were made and how the UAS were perceived, the second phase, which involves delivering rabies vaccine, will begin. "The global health community is looking for new ways to deliver vaccines, increase coverage and protect children against various diseases," Tissandier said. "With all the mountains in Rwanda it's hard to get to remote villages. Some places can only be reached by boat. We're using this partnership to save kids' lives and protect them from vaccine-preventable disease." Time is critical in emergency situations, es- pecially when victims need blood or a rabies vaccine, Siddiqui said. If a child in Rwanda is bitten by a rabid animal, for example, instead of waiting hours to get the necessary vaccine, a UAS can deliver it in about 15 minutes. This type of use is why Gavi has been looking into using drones for vaccine delivery for a few Top: Crazyfl ie quadrotor fl ying autonomously in the Intelligent Robotics Lab, UIUC. Middle: Venanzio Cichella holding a quadrotor UAS used for the experiments at the Intelligent Robotics Lab, UIUC. Mitchell Jones builds a drone prototype to help the elderly. Photos courtesy of Nairi Hovakimyan

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