Not very long ago, drones were still smiled at as toys. Now, however, the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (uav) within supply chains is going through the roof. This is evidenced by the recent successes of the British startup Dronamics, Alphabet/Amazon subsidiary Wing Aviation or Germany-based Wingcopter. Now, the latter has landed another business triumph in the U.S. after Wingcopter drones having already been used by integrator UPS on the last mile in the States.
The Denver, Colorado-based medical service provider Air Methods and drone developer Wingcopter have agreed on a strategic partnership. The aim of their joining forces is to provide new options
for on-demand delivery and fast access to lifesaving resources in the U.S., particularly in underserved rural areas.
Smart Division of Labor
The cooperation is based on a division of tasks between both players. According to the deal inked last Tuesday (03AUG21), Wingcopter provides the drones while Air Methods’ newly launched subsidiary “Spright” becomes responsible for setting up a drone-based, healthcare-specific delivery network across the United States.
The partner’s primary goal is to transport medical goods as quickly and safely as possible from the nearest operation site of the drones to clinics or other end users. In a joint release, Air Methods stresses that this mode of air transportation will significantly reduce the currently high costs for the delivery of highly sensitive products and improve transport service on the last mile.
Convincing Operational Features
“We are making this possible by deploying fleets of Wingcopter’s new flagship delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198. It is a state-of-the-art autonomous eVTOL delivery drone that enables safe, reliable, fast, and bi-directional medical deliveries,” reads a statement published by Air Methods. The drone allows for vertical take-off and landing, while also enabling fast forward flights beyond line-of-sight distances of 110 km (68 miles) and carrying shipments weighing up to 6 kg (13 lbs).
This fall, an initial pilot project will be launched in Hutchinson, Kansas using Wingcopter delivery drones in partnership with Hutchinson Regional Medical System, announces Air Methods. The experiences gained in Hutchison will form the basis for drone operations at many of the Air Methods' more than 350 stations across 48 U.S. states located predominantly in rural areas.
Wealth of Experience
In this context, Tom Plümmer, Co-Founder and CEO of Wingcopter points to his company's extensive experience in the drone transport of medical and time- and temperature-sensitive healthcare products in different geographical regions: “Our technology has been used globally to effectively deliver medical supplies, for example insulin in Ireland, children’s vaccines in Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific, emergency medication in Malawi, Southeast Africa, and just recently, blood samples in Germany.”
Further to this, he highlights that Wingcopter’s vision to save and improve lives “resonates perfectly with Air Methods’ legacy of providing lifesaving care, combined with Spright’s ambition to improve the quality of healthcare across the U.S. by deploying fleets of Wingcopters, and we are excited about scaling this together.”
The upcoming use of drones complements Air Methods' own flight activities. For example, the company operates 450 owned or leased helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for the distribution of urgent shipments such as blood samples, medicines, diagnostics, and small medical devices including the air transport of persons requiring urgent medical care.
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender’s name is authenticated.