Drone test flights in Nevada just showed that they can safely transport organs for transplant.
MissionGo, a transportation logistics company, partnered with the Nevada Donor Network in a test to fly corneas and kidneys across the desert. MissionGo says the drone delivery can be more efficient, and reduce the carbon footprint of the donations.
This comes at a moment where several major corporations are implementing drones for delivery. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just granted Amazon permission to begin Prime drone deliveries, while Walmart is experimenting with delivering groceries and COVID-19 tests by drone.
Drones have gotten some extra use as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, too. A healthcare company in North Carolina used drones to drop PPE for medical professionals, and UPS teamed up with CVS to deliver some prescriptions in Florida.
Here’s how the test flights went.
MissionGo, an unmanned aircraft safety company, tested out the drones over the Nevada desert.
MissionGo is a logistics company that helps businesses using drones or other unmanned aviation vehicles with pilot certification, FAA compliance, registration, and more.
The drones completed two flights, showing that drones can be viable in transporting organs for donation.
On the first flight, a drone carried corneas for research 1.8 miles in five minutes. MissionGO told Business Insider in an email.
The second flight broke the record for longest organ delivery flight in an unmanned aircraft.
It carried a kidney from the airport to a small town in the desert, traveling 10.3 miles in about 25 minutes.
This flight beat out the previous record held by MissionGo, for a kidney transport in Maryland in 2019 that was then successfully transplanted into a patient.
These test flights were also an experiment in touchless or low contact deliveries, reducing the number of people the organ passes through before transplant.
For this test, Dr. Joseph Scalea will analyze the corneas and kidney before and after the flight to understand any effects the journey had on them.
MissionGo says it has more test flights scheduled for the rest of 2020 and 2021.