A group of industrial design engineering students have set out to transform the way human organs needed for transplant surgery are transported. Based at the University of A Coruña in Spain the team developed a project known as Dronlife. The aim was to build a drone that uses a network system to transport organs for transplant operations. Months of hard work led to the team presenting their prototype in Dubai, where they emerged as one of the pre-finalists in the Drones for Good Competition.
Now, with Eduardo Guillén leading the project, the team is working on developing a new drone that can carry up to 30kg. The Helicopter H-Life drone is being designed to ensure efficiency and flight stability with low electric and electronic complexity.
“In Spain, we are worldwide leaders in organ transplant. The relevance of the drone application is due to the different speed of various systems,” said Guillén. “Instead of using transport by ambulance, or planes, we propose to be a more effective system. We had to develop a bigger drone than what is found in the marketplace.”
At present there are solutions that can travel long distances of up to 400km with a load of up to 20kg, said Guillén. The team is looking for funding in both Spain and Dubai and is presenting the project to different government institutions.
“Due to the expense of the drone systems, we thought they should be applied to high-value applications and the highest [of all] is health and people’s lives. So we chose to develop this instead of delivery systems for just parcels or gifts,” he said. “Hopefully we will get funding in the next few months. We are still looking for partners and distributors,” he said.
The idea is to have five to 10 drones available to cover a region. Drones will be part of the logistics system in that area, with requests coming in from hospitals where the extractions are done. This means drones will compete with helicopter companies, ambulances and couriers with specific means of transport.
At the moment, Dronlife is working on the interface system - the logistics and software, with the aim of having a system ready in six to eight months.