Baltimore could be a launchpad for drone delivery of medical supplies - Baltimore


Jan. 4, 2017 10:25 am

Baltimore could be a launchpad for drone delivery of medical supplies

A Johns Hopkins team is looking to fly drones between hospitals, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Drone alert.

(Photo by Flickr user Don McCullough, used under a Creative Commons license)

Drones could soon be buzzing over East Baltimore between Johns Hopkins hospitals.

JHU pathologist Timothy Amukele is a member of a research team seeking to use drones to transport medical supplies. Along with delivering the blood and medicine safely, the drones also need to be outfitted with a unit that can keep the supplies cool. (He discussed this in his TEDTalk.)

The team previously partnered with startup Flirtey to make a ship-to-shore drone delivery. Their latest move, according to the Baltimore Sun, was an article in the journal Transfusion that said sample bags of blood products were successfully transported in coolers during test flights.

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The next step could bring the flights to Baltimore. The Sun reports that Amukele wants to start shipping supplies between Johns Hopkins Bayview and Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore. Some hurdles remain, however, as the team still needs approval from neighbors as well as the FAA.

Ultimately, the drones are envisioned as a way to help hospitals share resources, as well as deliver supplies to patients who are in need of urgent attention or in remote areas. It sounds like the wider medical community still needs to be convinced, but it’s a sign that drones can help meet needs that go beyond Slurpees and burritos.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Baltimore and DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.


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