EHang Holdings has announced a new partnership with Lung Biotechnology in the hopes of automating organ transplant delivery.
Earlier this week, the companies revealed plans to put 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to work as organ transporters.
Currently, organs can be transported by standing land vehicles, or in cases of urgency, airplanes, motorcycles and ambulances. It usually takes a medical professional to make the journey with the organ -- held securely in a special cooler -- but EHang and Lung Biotechnology hope that they can create a system which will take out most of the legwork.
The new project, dubbed the Manufactured Organ Transport Helicopter (MOTH) system, involves 1,0000 EHang 184 drones being "optimized" over the next 15 years in the United States to make organ delivery by drone safe.
There are many challenges which these companies must overcome if organ delivery by drone will ever be viable. While Amazon is plowing ahead with drone delivery services, organs are a delicate and invaluable cargo -- and the slightest knock or bump could damage the tissue irrevocably.
In addition, there is a timeframe in which the organ must arrive at a hospital for use in an operating theater if not to be wasted.
However, the companies are not deterred and say not only could drones save thousands of lives, but they would also reduce the carbon footprint of organ transport. The 184, the drone tapped for this project, is able to carry passengers over 10 miles at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.
Huazhi Hu, CEO of EHang commented:
"Partnering with Lung Biotechnology is an incredible opportunity to bring the 184 to the emergency medical space, and specifically help to revolutionize the organ delivery system in the US.
It's also representative of our broader dedication to making the EHang 184 and its commercial drones readily available to a number of different industries today."
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