Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are testing out drones to see if they can be used to transport medical specimens to or from remote areas without easy transportation access.
"At first, I thought it was pie in the sky," said Tim Amukele, a pathologist at Johns Hopkins, in an interview with Fast Co.Exist. "But then I saw that it could be really competitive. It's cheaper than a motorcycle, and you don't have to worry about roads because it's going as the crow flies."
To wit: delivery drones that are used for transporting medical materials could greatly impact developing countries with unreliable infrastructure.
To test out the possibility, Amukele and two engineers who specialize in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) solicited 56 blood samples from volunteers and took them to a location an hour outside the city of Baltimore. From there, the samples were split into two groups: half were placed in cars as a control group, and half were stored in drones. The samples were then both sent back in their respective vehicles.
According to an article on the findings recently published in the medical journal PLOS ONE, "[t]ransportation of laboratory specimens via small [unmanned aircraft systems] does not affect the accuracy of routine chemistry, hematology, and coagulation tests results from self-same samples."
See Amukele test out medical transport drones in the video below.