Popular Science

Good News: It's Safe To Use Drones To Fly Blood Around

By Kelsey D. Atherton

Delivering objects via drone is a tempting notion bound by hard constraints: drones are small, so the cargo has to be small. Drones need power to fly, and any additional weight requires more power to cover the same distance, which further limits the size of the cargo. For a drone delivery to make sense, then, the small cargo has to justify both its weight and the urgency of a drone flight. Pound for pound and ounce for ounce, few cargoes match that limitation better than blood.

In a study published in the journal Transfusion, Johns Hopkins researcher Timothy Amukele demonstrated that drones are a safe and efficient way to get blood pouches to remote locations. This isn't Amukele's first blood drone rodeo. In 2015, he demonstrated that small vials of blood could catch a ride with a drone and arrive in good condition, no worse for wear than vials transported by car.


Jeff Street

Jeff Street is a drone engineer and pilot with more than ten years of experience leading small teams to develop innovative new vehicles.