Draganfly’s COVID-19 vaccine solutions are developed with Coldchain Technology Services in Texas. Jim Magill speaks to Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell about why drones are a vital tool in the COVID response.
From DRONELIFE employee Jim Magill
As the deadly global coronavirus pandemic enters its second year, drone tech companies around the world are trying to develop new applications not only to prevent the virus from spreading, but to deliver life-saving vaccines and other medical supplies to remote areas .
Draganfly, a drone developer more than two decades old who has already done a lot in the fight against the virus, is developing another weapon in the fight against COVID-19 and other diseases. The Raleigh, North Carolina-based company that developed camera-based technology to remotely assess a person’s health, as well as drone systems that make sports stadiums safe for fans, is currently developing an unmanned aerial system to deliver vaccines to heavy users accessible places such as offshore oil platforms.
In December, Draganfly Inc. announced that Coldchain Technology Services, headquartered in Spring Branch, Texas, has selected a leader in healthcare supply chain management “to provide immediate air services for a robust vaccine delivery payload for use in critical regions to develop and provide for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine by drones. “
Coldchain, one of the largest vaccine distributors in the United States, has contracts to supply vaccines in 15 states and is the exclusive COVID vaccine distributor for the state of Texas.
“We are building a drone delivery service for them that can deliver vaccines and medical supplies to challenging locations such as offshore oil rigs, disaster areas or other remote locations,” said Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly, in an interview.
Draganfly is developing a payload container equipped with a sustainable thermal management system that can hold at least 300 multiple doses or 100 single doses of the vaccine. The payload will be a crucial part of a comprehensive delivery and logistics platform that Draganfly will operate.
Draganfly’s COVID-19 Delivery System: The Platypus
Chell said Draganfly’s delivery system will use a proprietary drone, which it recently received a patent for, to carry the payloads. The drone, a vehicle with vertical takeoff and horizontal flight, “has some proprietary load balancing properties that are important for things like vaccines,” Chell said. Draganfly, which has not yet adopted a commercial name for the vehicle, calls its drone “Platypus” because of its unique design, he said.
The platypus “includes fuselage-mounted fore and aft wing assemblies, each wing assembly including port and starboard nacelles that terminate in motor-driven rotors powered by an on-board control system that can be used to adjust rotor speeds,” according to the latest announcement by Draganfly. The vehicle’s design makes it capable of out-of-sight (BVLOS) flights as well as flights over people and at night, Draganfly said.
Wayne Williams, executive director of Coldchain Technology Services, said the new delivery system would allow drones to deliver vaccines and other medical supplies to hard-to-maintain locations like offshore drilling platforms.
“They have people on site trained as paramedics so they can do basic health care like a shot or a blood draw, but it still took a lot to get the product to market,” Williams said. “Right now we have an organization that flies it out in a helicopter. You can imagine what the hourly rotor time is for a helicopter versus the hourly rotor time for a drone. “
More COVID-19 tools from Draganfly
The development of the drone vaccine delivery system marks Draganfly’s recent efforts to help fight the coronavirus, Chell said. The company has also used its drones to spray disinfectant to keep sports facilities safe for fans in the state of Alabama.
In December, Alabama State University announced that Draganfly had signed a contract to use its drones to spray Varigard, the patented pathogen and virus pathogen, on the school’s soccer field, ASU Stadium and the school’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome, the school’s basketball arena Has .
“You were able to open this basketball season in January, thanks in part to this spray that protected the seating area, locker room and everything else,” said Chell.
Although Draganfly is currently using piloted drones, “over time we will do so autonomously and equip the facilities we work in with a digital twin of their facility,” he said. “This is a pretty good innovation in terms of non-GPS flights. Business is going on there. “
In addition to developing drone-based solutions to prevent the spread of disease, Draganfly has also developed other technological applications that can be used to detect potential signs of the virus.
Recently, a customer asked Draganfly to develop a drone-borne camera system to detect mask wearing and social distancing within the crowd. “We delivered this system – the drone could detect social distancing and mask wear – and then they made a funny comment, ‘Could you build something to detect COVID-19?'”
Although the comment was made half-jokingly, the developers at Draganfly took the challenge seriously. “We said,” We don’t think we can detect COVID 19, but we do believe we can detect infectious conditions, “Chell said.
“Fast forward 10 months later and we have commercially deployed software that can be used with pretty much any camera – a drone, kiosk, laptop, smartphone, or security system,” he said. “The camera can record your heart rate, your breathing rate, your blood pressure, your blood oxygen content and your BMI as well as your body mass index.”
Last month, the Alabama State Senate announced that it had launched the Draganfly Smart Vital System to test people at risk of infection so the state can minimize the spread of the coronavirus in government buildings.
Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has authored over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing on the drone industry, email Miriam.
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