IntUitive Platform for monIToring and delivery of mEdical goods by dRones
Financed by: European Comission
Programme: DIH-HERO: CALL FOR HEALTHCARE ROBOTICS 2020
Grant Agreement ID: CE-DIH-HERO-PI-ROBO-2020-01
Rol in the project: Partner
Duration: April 2021 to March 2022
In the last few years, many examples of blood and medicine delivery drones have been
demonstrated worldwide, which mainly rely on aeronautical experience that is not common in the medical world. Speaking about drone delivery, attention should focus on the most important thing: the transported lifesaving good. Traditional boxes that monitor temperature are not usually in real time, and are not suitable for drone transportation because they are heavy and bulky.
This means that the biomedical characteristics of delivery are of primary importance. A Smart Capsule, equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), is the first system ever proposed to provide a fully autonomous drone delivery service for perishable and high-value medical products, integrating real-time quality monitoring and control. It consists in a smart casing that is able to guide any autonomous aerial vehicle attached to it, specifically designed for transporting blood, organs, tissues, test samples and drugs, among others. The system monitors the conditions of the product (e.g., temperature, agitation and humidity) and adjusts them when needed by exploiting, for instance, vibrations to maintain the required agitation, ensuring that goods are ready to be used as soon as they are delivered.
The Smart Capsule also leverages external temperature to reduce energy uptake from the drone, thus improving the drone’s battery life and flight range. The system replaces the need for specialized drivers and traditional road-bound transportation means, while guaranteeing compliance with all applicable safety regulations. A series of 16 experimental tests was performed to demonstrate the possibility of using the smart capsule to manage the flight and internal good delivery. Eighty-one missions were carried out for a total of 364 min of flight.
The Smart Capsule greatly improves emergency response and efficiency of healthcare systems by reducing delivery times by up to 80% and costs by at least 28%. The Smart Capsule and its enabling technology based on AI for drone deliveries are discussed in this paper. The aim of this work is to show the possibility of managing drone delivery with an AI-based device.