Medical Drones — Revolutionising the Healthcare Industry

  • Blood and laboratory samples transportation: The transportation of blood and laboratory samples needs appropriate temperature balance and safety. Medical drones have been fulfilling the need for the safe, fast and efficient transportation of medical supplies even to remote areas. As laboratory samples are light in weight, drones can easily carry these. In conjunction with WakeMed, UPS was the first company to use drones for medical supplies, in North Carolina
  • Vaccine delivery: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of medical drones saw a phenomenal increase for vaccine deliveries. The recent launch of the Medicines from the Sky project in Telangana, India, for the delivery of vaccines and drugs using medical drones has paved the way for the efficient delivery of medical supplies to far flung regions in the country
  • Organ transfer: Leading drone manufacturing companies are testing the utility of medical drones to transfer organs from one place to another. The critical and time-sensitive nature of organ transfers (4–36 hours to move organs from donor to the patient) makes ultra-fast transportation a prerequisite, and drones have the ability to conduct fast, safe and cost effective delivery
  • Small medical devices transport: Drones can be used to transport small medical devices, such as automated external defibrillators, to accident or disaster sites that have urgent requirement for medical devices. This can make it easier for medical personnel to provide emergency treatment
  • Search and rescue (SAR): SAR drones are emerging as powerful tools for public safety and security teams, as they have several advantages over manual modes of search, including their low cost, payload versatility and quick deployment. Drones can also enable enhanced situational awareness. In addition, they are safer and more adaptable than manned aircraft and provide a bird’s eye view of the search area with enhanced coverage and excellent image resolution. For instance, the Vision Aerial SAR1 System helps in the quick identification of victims using thermal and infrared cameras and can cover a wide area within a short span of time
  • Telemedicine drone: Telemedicine and telecommunication have seen rapid advancement amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with virtual platforms being used in remote diagnosis and treatment of patients. Telemedicine drones can be used to establish wireless communication between a surgeon and a robot to perform telesurgery. Such drones are also used to deliver medical supplies and other packages in emergency clinical scenarios to provide quick patient care
  • Transportation and logistics: The rising application of medical drones for the transportation of blood, vaccines, laboratory samples and other medical supplies will have a positive impact on the overall growth of the global medical drones market. For instance, Zipline, a US-based company collaborated with Walmart for the delivery of health and wellness products using drones in September 2020
  • Rising government initiatives: Increasing government expenditure on drone manufacturing, in line with the rising focus of government bodies on healthcare digitisation, will enhance industry growth. The Ghana government, for instance, recently signed an agreement with a US firm for the transportation of medical supplies to hospitals and clinics using drones, strengthening healthcare supply chains in the country
  • Rising adoption of latest technologies: Rapid advancements in medical drone technology will make it possible to efficiently deliver essential medical supplies with short half-lives. In April 2019, Zipline launched the largest vaccine drone delivery network in Ghana, enabling the quick and smooth delivery of medical facilities to remote and distant areas. Leading companies, such as Amazon and Google also have plans to launch drones that are faster and more efficient and safe
  • Technical and environmental barriers: Several factors constrain the growth of the medical drones market, including vibration during transport and concerns about movement precision, battery life and maintenance of continuous communication between ground pilot and the drone. In addition, environmental barriers include humidity and rapid changes in air pressure and temperature during the delivery of blood samples, vaccines, drugs and other medical supplies
  • Stringent laws and regulations: Strict legal restrictions pose a threat to the growth of the medical drones market at a global level. In addition, the regulatory scenarios of different countries can vary. Drone manufacturing companies would need to be cognisant of these laws before launching their products in a country



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Acuity Knowledge Partners

Acuity Knowledge Partners


We write about financial industry trends, the impact of regulatory changes and opinions on industry inflection points.