Researchers from Mayo Clinic’s Department of Surgery investigate the viability of using drones to deliver things such as drugs and blood to clinics, disaster areas and to remote places that are expensive to reach such as ships and offshore oil platforms. Commercially available unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are quite cheap. They are already being used by farmers to survey fields, real estate agents to survey properties, and rescue teams to look for people in difficult to reach places.
A drone can be used to deliver blood immediately from a blood bank as soon as a call is received. This would allow hospitals to avoid keeping large amounts of blood in stock, in turn reducing the overall demand.
Drones are cheaper to use for deliveries compared to helicopters. Mayo clinic’s helicopters make 400 flights per year delivering blood and plasma, each costing thousands of dollars, while drones can be used to deliver blood and plasma for pennies in the near future.