Flirtey, which is conducting a pretty successful PR campaign by performing a bunch of drone delivery "firsts," will be demonstrating the first ship-to-shore delivery by autonomous drone next week.
The test is being carried out in partnership with Dr. Timothy Amukele, assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The purpose of the joint mission, which will take place along the New Jersey coastline, is to demonstrate how unmanned aircraft can provide aid in disaster situations. Accessing victims is one of the hardest logistical challenges during crises like hurricanes or system-wide failure of electrical or communications infrastructure. Dr. Amukele has previously researched the possibility of using medical drones to transport blood samples and blood products. He'll serve as an advisor to the project.
Flirtey will fly drones carrying medical samples for emergency testing between an onshore medical relief camp at Cape May and a test facility on a vessel stationed off the coast. If the zombie apocalypse comes, offshore testing stations are going to be pretty clutch to separate the wheat from the zombie chaff. In a round trip, Flirtey drones will also deliver medical supplies from the vessel to the onshore medical camp.
"Imagine a future where in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Flirtey drones rapidly deliver emergency medical supplies, food and water," said Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny. "This demonstration is helping to make that future a reality, and taking us one step closer to Flirtey's mission to save lives and change lifestyles."
The demonstration could have some important implications for global humanitarian efforts. Eight of the 10 largest cities in the world are coastal, and more than three billion people, or 44 percent of the world's population, live within 95 miles of the coast, according to the United Nations. Recent tsunamis and anomalous weather events like Hurricane Sandy have underscored the pressing need for better coastal aid solutions.