Using Drones to Help Save Lives

There are many uses for drones … hobby, sport, commercial, military.  UAV drones also show great potential in helping to save lives.  Here are a few examples of those opportunities.

1. Medical Supplies in Madagascar

Doctors in Madagascar are testing the ability of drones to drop medical supplies in remote villages in helping to fight tuberculosis. Drones designed by Michigan company Vayu can take off virtually like a quadcopter, then fly 40 miles like a plane, and then land virtually in a remote village. They are looking at the future possibility of a drone picking up test samples from remote villages, delivering the samples to a lab facility where a diagnosis is preformed, and then medication can be returned to the village if needed.

2. Save Swimmers

What is believed to be the world’s first drone rescue of its kind, a Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone was used to rescue two swimmers from an Australian beach in January 2018. Within minutes of an alert the Little Ripper drone pilot was able to locate the swimmers and subsequently drop a rescue pod containing an automatically inflating flotation device, where the swimmers were able to cling to and make their way back to shore where they were met by lifeguards.

More news from Little Ripper.
Source: FlightSafetyAustralia
Another water rescue drone: Ryptide

3. UNICEF and Malawi Government

One application in which drones are helping to safe lives is being sponsored by UNICEF.   UNICEF Innovation, in partnership with the government of Malawi, is testing ways to use drones for humanitarian work. In developing countries like Malawi, delivery of lifesaving services can be compromised by flooding and rough roads.   UNICEF was part of a project where UAVs were used to transport blood samples from the clinic to the lab as a way to expedite HIV testing for babies.  During the test, the six-mile trip from the clinic to the hospital which via motorbike can take from several hours to several days, only took around 20 minutes by drone.

Source / READ MORE: Unicef using drones in Malawi

4. UPS and Zipline Blood Delivery

UPS Zipline package delivery drone inflight
As with the African country of Malawi, in Rwanda delivery of lifesaving services can be jeopardized by rough roads.    During Rwanda’s lengthy rainy season, many roads wash out becoming impassible or non-existent. The result is that all too often someone in need of a lifesaving transfusion cannot access the blood they need to survive.  Through drones and a delivery service built and operated by Zipline, blood transfusion clinics in the Western half of Rwanda (and in early 2017 the Eastern half of the country also) are able to place emergency orders for blood.

READ MORE: Zipline Blood Delivery Project

Source/Images: UPS

5. UPS and CyPhy Works Medicine Delivery

UPS, in testing the use of drones to make commercial deliveries of packages to remote or difficult-to-access locations, partnered with CyPhy Works in Sept 2016 to test a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine from Beverly, Mass. to Children’s Island, which is about three miles off the Atlantic coast. In the mock scenario, the drone successfully carried an asthma inhaler to a child at a camp on the island, which is not reachable by automobile.

READ MORE: UPS/CyPhy Medicine Delivery Project

Source/Image: CyPhy

6. DHL tests medicine delivery

In an alpine region notable for its geographical and meteorological challenges, DHL conducted a test with their Parcelcopter drone.  The first task was to master the rapidly changing weather conditions and severe temperature fluctuation in the test area. With that achieved, the DHL Parcelcopter then performed a series of flawless flights. Each round trip from valley to plateau at roughly 1,200 meters above sea level covered eight kilometers of flight. The drone’s cargo was typically either sporting goods or urgently needed medicines and it arrived at the Alm station within just eight minutes of take-off. The same trip by car takes more than 30 minutes during winter.

Source: DHL

7. TU Delft Ambulance drone prototype

A cool concept project.  A graduate student of TU Delft, designed a small UAV prototype that can quickly deliver a defibrillator to persons in need of assistance.  The drone ambulance was developed in collaboration with Living Tomorrow, the Belgian innovation platform, which helped to fund the project.
READ MORE: Ambulance Drone Project

8. Help Save Animals in Africa

There are several projects that use drones to help save wildlife in Africa from poachers.  One anti-poaching solution is being utilized by Air Shepherd which uses drones and monitoring technology to help protect rhinos and other animals in national parks.  The Air Shepherd system is composed of drone aircraft with sensors and visible and infrared camera devices on-board to help in the search for poachers in both day and night environments.
READ MORE: Fighting Rhino Poaching with Drones

9. Ryptide design to save swimmers

Another cool application concept and a Kickstarter project, Ryptide is a life saving drone accessory that can deliver an automatically inflating life preserver to a swimmer in trouble in seconds. The system can be attached to any drone capable of carrying a GoPro camera and brushless gimbal, including the popular DJI Phantom.
READ MORE: Ryptide Project