An autonomous drone delivery network will deliver blood across Switzerland starting next month in a world first. The permanent network will see flying robot couriers shuttling blood and pathology samples between hospital labs and clinics. The drones will launch from stations that automatically replace the batteries and cargo, which is boxed by humans before flight and retrieved using a smartphone. Medical samples can be delivered to urban hospitals within 30 minutes, Matternet, the company behind the networks, claims. An autonomous drone delivery network will deliver blood across Switzerland starting next month in a world first.
Medevac missions won't have to put more humans in danger if Tactical Robotics has its way. The Urban Aeronautics-owned firm has successfully completed its first "mission representative" demo of the Cormorant, an autonomous VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drone that can pick up two casualties without requiring a crew. The only people directly involved are those loading the victims -- there's a video camera for talking to conscious patients, but the machine otherwise flies on its own. The vehicle is primarily intended for front line military support with a range of 20 miles, but it can fly reasonably quickly with speeds over 100MPH using its lone turboshaft engine and two adjustable rotors. It can even operate in stronger winds than a helicopter pilot could, according to the company.
"The oceans remain vastly under-monitored," said Gabriel Bousquet, an MIT postdoc who led the design of a unique robot as part of his graduate thesis. "In particular, it's very important to understand the Southern Ocean and how it is interacting with climate change. But it's very hard to get there." Bousquet and his team designed a hybrid vehicle that can both fly above tumultuous seas and sail on them when things are calmer. The vehicle uses one-third as much wind as an albatross would and travels ten times faster than a typical sailboat, making for a very efficient way to survey the vast areas of the planet's seas.
A startup based in Petah Tikva, Isreal, Airobotics,has scored the right to fly drones autonomously for business purposes in Israel. The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) was the first in the world to authorize commercial, fully unmanned drone flights in their nation's airspace. Airobotics' drones are marketed for use in site surveying, security and other industrial applications. Allowing these drones to fly sans operator means that companies can run inspections for miles along power lines, train tracks, or acres of farmland, for example, without humans positioned along the route or token interruptions for point-checks. The startup's self-flying, quadcopter drones launch and land from a base station where they can swap out spent batteries for newly charged ones.
Working together, the likley modified commercial drones could be good indoor scouts. There is little detail in the 1 million contract award posted yesterday. The award, from the Army, but through the Pentagon's brand-new tech-focused "Defense Innovation Unit Experimental" DIUx, is for a nine-month "prototype project in the area of Autonomous Tactical Airborne Drones." Two other salient features stand out in the little, obligatory blurb attached to the notice. The contract comes from the Naval Special Warfare Command, which mostly oversees Navy SEALs, and the contract was awarded to Shield AI.