MissionGO and LLF of Maryland Reinvent Blood Transport with Unmanned Aircraft
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian Crosby
MissionGO, a leader in unmanned aircraft solutions, has teamed with The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF), Maryland’s organ procurement organization (OPO) responsible for organ, eye and tissue donation services, for a faster, safer and more efficient solution for organ and blood transport. The duo announced today a successful flight demonstration that took place on August 10 using the new MissionGO MG Velos 100, an autonomous, high-speed unmanned aircraft system (UAS) solution for blood and organ delivery. The demonstration revealed an approximately 292 percent time improvement over ground transportation, marking the first demonstration of rapid UAS blood transport for the testing, matching and transplantation of life-saving organs.
“About 20 lives are lost every day waiting for an organ transplant. As the demand of blood shipment to laboratories increases, it is imperative more than ever that we support and facilitate these types of initiatives in order to decrease the total turnaround time for donor matching results and get recipients the organs they need in time,” said The LLF’s president and CEO Charlie Alexander. “We are passionate about saving and enhancing lives through donation, while honoring the legacy and generosity of our donors and their families. Continuing to make these medical advancements furthers our mission to save more lives, and we look forward to finding more innovative ways to help those in need.”
Blood testing and travel time are critical to the donation and transplantation process, but with so many variables that could threaten the viability of specimens, transporting blood in a safe and efficient manner is crucial. The LLF sends blood specimens to a minimum of three labs by ground, typically across a 7.1-mile distance, taking about 38 minutes for a single shipment. This process is also obstructed by traffic, accidents and countless other factors. Once received, The LLF, hospitals and laboratories within 150-250 miles must create solutions to quickly and thoroughly test the specimen to ensure the absence of diseases, identify a match and provide hospital transport for the surgical procedure.
MissionGO saw the need for a better method and, alongside partners MediGO and AlarisPro, designed the MissionGO MG Velos 100 to track, deliver and monitor the logistics process. They then developed a study with the LLF, comparing the speed and reliability of delivery via ground transport versus unmanned aircraft. At one test site, the UAS flew a circuit route over a 5.3 mile distance representing the direct line flight path for the blood delivery. Traveling at approximately 50 mph over a 60-minute period, the UAS completed four total shipments, showing a better method is possible.
With this new model, OPOs, hospitals and laboratories will have an autonomous delivery system that can airlift specimens over all obstacles for a fast and safe delivery. MissionGO will be able to offer transplant stakeholders the only UAS capable of medical delivery in urban environments. With this, every detail of organ and blood shipment is covered so that doctors and clinicians no longer have to worry about the logistics and can instead focus on their mission of saving lives.
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.