Medical drones now grace the skies of most continents, including Africa, where the need is greatest. In this article, we take a look at 10 drone companies that we think are at the top of their game in the airborne medical logistics space.

It’s companies like these that will be at the forefront of integrating drones into the smart cities of the future.

The list

1. Zipline

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Zipline operates a fleet of drones to deliver blood products on a national scale. Founded in 2016, headline-grabbing Zipline has been active in delivering thousands of units of blood across Rwanda. Zipline’s vision is to build an “instant delivery system for the planet” and launch its service around the world.

2. Flirtey

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Flirtey also aims to save lives and improve lifestyles. It seeks to achieve this by making instant delivery a reality for everyone. Flirtey was founded as the first drone delivery service in the world and has since demonstrated its delivery capability in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.

3. Swoop Aero

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Swoop Aero is an Australian company aiming to “redefine healthcare with airborne mobility”. Swoop Aero seeks to achieve this by using drones to deliver medical supplies to those in need. Their technology provides an answer to the limitations of traditional ground transport.

4. Wingcopter

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Wingcopter aims to help improve the health supply chain by making it easier for medical products to be transported between health facilities. German-engineering helps to ensure that the Wingcopter delivery drones perform at optimum level.

5. Wing

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Project Wing is an initiative of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Wing has been trialing delivery drones in Australia, delivering medicine, food, drinks, and other household items. Wing states that its system’s total carbon footprint is 22x less than traditional delivery. Wing is also shortly set to trial drone delivery in Finland in Spring 2019.  

6. HiRO

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Healthcare Integrated Rescue Operation (HiRO) is a drone-based telemedicine system. HiRO provides life-saving medical supplies and specialised expertise to critically-injured personnel in various environments.

7. Matternet

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Boeing-backed Matternet has completed 850 on-demand deliveries of blood and pathology specimens in Switzerland. Matternet’s M2 Drone is designed to carry payloads of 2kg and 4 litres over distances of up to 20km. The Swiss aviation authority has authorised Matternet to carry out full logistics operations over cities.

Traditional aviation giant, Airbus, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with International SOS on drone cargo delivery systems. As part of the MOU, Airbus and International SOS will collaborate on a drone delivery for hub to hub distribution of medical cargo.

8. Airbus

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9. International SOS

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Although not a traditional drone company, we include International SOS at No.9 on this list because of its MOU with Airbus, described above.

10. Air Aid

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Air Aid is touted as Asia’s “first drone-based blood and other emergency medical supplies service in Asia”. This startup aims to deliver blood, medicines, and vaccines to rural areas in India and Nepal. Air Aid has made 19 successful deliveries to date and its “Bloodstream” delivery project is due to start in mid-2019.

There are many great drone companies that are currently in the medical delivery space. The above are the companies that we think are currently at the top of their game in the drone world.

If you have any recommendations or questions, comment below or get in contact with us via our social media accounts.

Check out some of our other top 10 lists here.

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Feature photo by Hal Gatewood. Air Aid photo by Arihant Daga.