New Jersey-based 3D printed drone delivery service Flirtey will be performing the first ship-to-shore delivery of medical supplies using a drone in the United States. The real-time demonstration will be a showcase of the potential humanitarian and disaster aid applications possible using Flirtey’s UAV drone delivery services. Unmanned aircraft have the potential to offer much needed life-saving help to victims of a large-scale urban disaster like a hurricane or massive failures of electrical or communications infrastructures. Because of the high maneuverability and small size of drones, they are an ideal solution for getting medical and other supplies into disaster areas that may be inaccessible to ground vehicles.
Flirtey will be teaming up with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine assistant professor of pathology Timothy Amukele and the Field Innovation Team (FIT) for the demonstration. Representatives from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) will also be on hand to get a first hand look at the first of its kind test of the ship-to-shore drone delivery capabilities of Flirtey. The delivery is part of FIT’s latest Drones In Disaster ‘Do Tank,’ an event that brings together experts from a wide variety of fields and expertise to collaboratively try and develop response solutions for humanitarian disaster scenarios.
“Imagine a future where in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Flirtey drones rapidly deliver emergency medical supplies, food and water. This demonstration is helping to make that future a reality, and taking us one step closer to Flirtey’s mission to save lives and change lifestyles,” explained Flirety CEO Matt Sweeny.
The drone delivery will take place on June 23 from a test facility located on a vessel stationed off of the New Jersey coastline. The drone will be carrying medical samples for emergency testing to an onshore medical relief camp located near Cape May. Dr. Amukele has previously conducted several successful tests of medical drones carrying blood samples and blood products, so he is acting as a volunteer advisor to Flirtey. The drone delivery company’s ability to rapidly transport medical supplies and samples will be an important capability for disaster relief organizations, especially when developing logistical responses to disaster zones with roads and coastlines that may be too damaged for access with ground vehicles.
“It’s pivotal that in disaster and crisis we look to support our relief efforts with cutting-edge technology. This event is an incredible opportunity to develop these solutions hand-in-hand with the United Nations, American Red Cross, Flirtey, Luftronix, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Splunk, Inc., Simulyze and, of course, the New Jersey community,” said FIT Founder Desiree Matel-Anderson of the demonstration with Flirtey.
The implications of the use of drone technology will be significant for global humanitarian efforts, as 8 of the 10 largest cities in the world are coastal cities. According to the United Nations, more than 3 billion people, a full 44% of the world’s population, live within 95 miles of the nearest coast. The ability to access these coastal areas from ships out at sea could save countless lives in cases of tsunamis and powerful storms that have crippled or devastated the city’s access roads and infrastructure.
“We recognize the opportunity for us to engage with drone developers and operators in ensuring the principled application of game-changing technologies in response to humanitarian crises around the world. Participating in this event supports the mission of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to mobilize and coordinate effective humanitarian action with a broad range of partners,” explained UNOCHA Humanitarian Affairs Officer Andrew Billo.
Flirtey was the first US-based company to conduct an FAA-approved drone delivery of medical supplies in the country, and they were also the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery of medical supplies to a private home. Ground-to-ground deliveries were only the first step of Flirtey’s plans, and they are now working on the high level of technical precision required for ship-to-shore drone deliveries.
Here is a first person view of Flirtey’s history-making drone delivery that took place in West Virginia last summer:
Flirtey has been rapidly developing and refining their drone delivery capabilities, and this month’s ship-to-shore demonstration is considered a proof of concept of their current capabilities. You can learn more about FIT here, and learn more about Flirtey and their drone delivery services here. Discuss in the 3D Printed Drone forum over at 3DPB.com.