The first organ transplant delivered by drone was performed in April by surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
“All this is impressive. Years ago you would not even think about it”,
said a kidney recipient, a 44-year-old resident of Baltimore, who has now been discharged from the UMMC.
The whole process resulted from the collaboration of experts from the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site at the University of Maryland and physicians and researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and associates at Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland.
According to the University, there have been a number of important breakthroughs, from the use of special equipment for the maintenance and monitoring of the organ, the use of a wireless network “mesh” for drone control, etc.
Before the flight of April 19, the aircraft was developed and tested on a blood transfer flights, saline solution and other materials, as well as a healthy, but not viable for transplantation, human kidney.
For the purpose of creating a drone suitable for this job and the general systems required (Human Organic Monitoring and Quality Assurance Apparatus for Long-Distance Travel), there has been collaboration with various medical technology companies. The aircraft itself was designed by UMD UAS Test Site engineers, and includes a series of spare engines and batteries and parachute in case of major breakdown.