In underdeveloped regions, a large amount of population has no access to medical care due to limited access to laboratories and clinics in these regions. It is not feasible to carry specimens or medication to rural areas within the necessary time frame every time a patient needs to be treated. However, the use of drones for delivery of medication or vaccines has been recommended in several forms to advance patient care.
The medical delivery drones are being planned to improve so that they can finally replace motorized vehicle delivery. In addition to enhance accessibility, the delivery of specimens to and from laboratories and clinics can also save many lives.
Nonetheless, there are a few downsides of drone delivery as well. The units are expensive and are capable of carrying only small shipments. Also, the range is a fraction of what a motorbike or car can achieve. The battery’s size must be increased in order to enhance the range which then affects the drone negatively by adding weight to it.
“DARPA”, the United States military’s experimental technology arm may have discovered a technique to alleviate some of these hitches. As per now, this organization is funding a research project that is investigating the use of disposable drones made out of cardboard. These ‘paper planes’ will significantly decrease the cost of the flying units beyond the need for their return. This implies that there is no need for the drone to haul batteries for a return trip. Hence, without the need for a return, the drone can travel up to twice the distance.
Besides, there is an additional reduction in the cost of the drone by taking on the form of a fixed-wing glider. The motorless drones would then have to be launched from an aircraft replacing a parachute package-drop.
“Otherlab” has designed this glider which includes small electronics to maneuver the glider to its delivery point. Moreover, in collaboration with Otherlab, DARPA’s Unrecoverable Systems Program “ICARUS” aims to build the glider out of a mushroom-based material that is biodegradable.
Despite the fact that the glider is not capable of competing with rotary drones in terms of payload and precision, it might be a step towards a more sustainable method of delivery.