If the idea of drones transporting blood to patients in need sounds far off to you, hold on to your hat. A new drone, developed by the South African National Blood Service is set to take flight as soon as the Civil Aviation Authority gives it the green light.
Dubbed Tron, the newly developed drone was recently launched at the North Eastern Radio Flyers in Sandton, and promises to provide a cost-effective and speedy solution to patients in need of blood quickly.
Tron features a wing design suited for maximum efficiency and can travel at speeds of up to 180km/h, all the while utilising systems that require minimal power usage. The drones can fly autonomously or can be controlled by a pilot, and relay HD-video back to the control centre, from which they can be continually monitored to ensure they stay on their route. Take-off only occurs after a long list of security checks, and Tron is designed to fly at a height which doesn’t interfere with aeroplane traffic.
The new technology provides a very viable alternative to the ways traditionally used to transport blood quickly, including helicopters.
Speaking to MyBroadband, SANBS CEO Dr. Jonathan Louw said, “We had a discussion with the department of health to discuss how to help people in rural areas, and hence the drone project was born.”
Louw added that this technology had far-reaching benefits, and is an entirely new way of transporting blood.
“We believe this will be a milestone in the history of blood transfusion, not only in South Africa, but in the entire world,” said Louw.
The SANBS will now embark on a series of test flights, after which it awaits the necessary licensing from the Civil Aviation Authority.