What You Should Know:
– Air Methods, the nation’s largest air medical provider, today announced the launch of Spright, a newly formed drone solution, designed to help improve healthcare access and minimize supply challenges. Collaborating with Wingcopter, an industry-leading German drone manufacturer, Spright will create a first-of-its-kind, drone-based, urgent healthcare resource delivery network across the United States.
– The network will be designed to quickly deliver emergent healthcare resources without limitations based on available manpower or traffic. Instead, a healthcare provider will agree to receive the resources from a hospital. Then the drone will be loaded and launched by supplying hospital. From there, with FAA approval, a remote operator will fly the craft, up to 68 miles, at a maximum cruising speed of 89 miles per hour, to the destination facility.
Wingcopter 198 Background
The Wingcopter 198 is a state-of-the-art autonomous eVTOL delivery drone that enables safe, reliable, fast, and bi-directional medical deliveries. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility and ease of use in operations. The company’s patented tilt-rotor technology allows for vertical take-off and landing, while also enabling efficient forward flight over long ranges, thus eliminating the need for additional infrastructure. The drone has a range of up to 68 miles (110 kilometers), a maximum speed of 90 mph (145 kilometers per hour) and can carry a payload of up to 13 lbs. (6 kg). Therefore, the Wingcopter 198 is an excellent choice to make Spright’s vision a reality.
Why It Matters
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is ravaging many areas of the world. We are currently seeing American hospitals over-flowing with patients, especially true in Southern US states like Florida. As hospitals fill, we also see medical resource distribution become a growing challenge – like availability of PPE, blood products, IV medicines, and other medical resources. Once again, we will see the need to share resources between healthcare providers. The result is a faster network to rapidly distribute medical resources, via a more environmentally friendly, and potentially less expensive network.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some of the real challenges in our health care system creating an opportunity to find better solutions to extend access to healthcare, especially in rural America,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods. “That is why we are doing what Air Methods’ does best, taking to the skies, using the latest in technology and drone innovation, delivering hope and facilitating healing with speed and efficiency that was previously unimaginable. We see Spright serving a vastly underserved market and playing a huge role in a future full of better outcomes for everyone.”
Initial Pilot Project
This fall, Spright will be kicking off this endeavor by partnering with Hutchinson Regional Medical System, in Hutchinson, Kan., for the launch of an initial pilot project using Wingcopter’s delivery drones. This project will provide a proof of concept of how this new and exciting venture can provide needed relief and certainty for medical resources in rural America. Spright will provide additional details on this initial project as the deployment draws near.