Next month, Switzerland's hospitals will be equipped with a potentially revolutionary autonomous drone delivery network. Healthcare providers and a Menlo Park, California company called Matternet have teamed up to implement the system across the country. And on Wednesday, Matternet announced that they had completed "the third and final technology component" to make their drone and information system a reality. It's called the Matternet Station: a two square foot robotic drone loading dock and smart launching and landing pad that enables hospitals to quickly send and receive crucial medical samples and resources, all by drone.
A senior U.S. official says the United States has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week. The official says a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. Until Monday, U.S. officials had said they weren't sure if the drone was operated by Russia or Syria. The senior official said it still wasn't clear who was flying the jet that bombed the hospital.
Drones are becoming a ubiquitous technology with their increasing capabilities. Amazon is using them to deliver packages, Japanese innovators have created pollinator drones, and drones are even being used as backup dancers for pop stars. There are even drones emerging that could help to save lives. One such drone is being developed by Flypulse, a Swedish startup working on an autonomous drone that can bring life-saving equipment to the scene of a medical emergency. Its has the ability to deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at an incredible speed -- four times faster than an ambulance.
An NHS drone is being used to courier Covid-19 samples, blood tests and personal protective equipment between hospitals in England. It is hoped that the trials, backed by a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency, can establish a network of air corridors for electric drones to navigate using GPS. The remote-controlled drone, which will be piloted by an ex-military fast jet or helicopter instructor, will initially fly between Essex's Broomfield hospital, Basildon hospital and the Pathology First laboratory in Basildon. The project is the idea of Apian, a healthcare drone startup founded by Christopher Law and Hammad Jeilani. "Covid-19 has highlighted challenges in NHS supply chain logistics," said Law.
Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos walks next to an operator carrying a drone used to deliver medical specimens after a flight in March at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos walks next to an operator carrying a drone used to deliver medical specimens after a flight in March at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. Underneath it is a metal box -- smaller than a shoebox -- with vials of blood samples inside of it that are now heading across the campus to the lab for analysis, guided by a drone operator on the ground. "This facility happens to be across a very busy road from our main campus hospital," says Stuart Ginn, an ENT surgeon and medical director of innovations at WakeMed. But when taken by carrier on foot or by car, he says "the logistics of getting those samples across often resulted in about a 45-minute time of delivery."