In the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise, getting medical supplies or clean water from point A to point B can be quite the challenge. Flirtey, a nascent drone delivery company, just tested one solution; ship-to-shore drone delivery.
The company worked with Dr. Timothy Amukele at Johns Hopkins to conduct the first-of-its-kind test along the cost of Cape May, New Jersey. The demonstration was viewed by the United Nations and the American Red Cross, and approved by the FAA.
“During Hurricane Sandy more than 1.4 million liters of water, 1.6 million meals, and 1 million fliers were delivered by first responders. Imagine how much faster and further these life saving resources could be delivered by drone,” said Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny.
During the test, the Flirtey quadcopter collected medical samples from those folks on the ground and delivered them to a platform behind the ship; then collected medicine from that same platform and delivered it to the shoreline. The goods are lowered in a box that pops out of the body of the drone and is lowered on a rope to the ground or platform. The flights were autonomous and short.
Eight of the 10 biggest cities are coastal cities that are home to more than 3 billion people, according to the UN. In fact, 44 percent of the world's population live within 95 miles of a coast. Flirtey is reportedly in talks with regulators in several countries to find a unified way to make drone delivery viable.
Flirtey has previously demonstrated similar abilities in land-to-land scenarios, transporting medical supplies to a hospital in a remote area and to a home. In light of the recently proposed FAA rules for commercial flights, I expect to see tests like this increase in frequency. Who knows, maybe such technology will come in handy during the zombie apocalypse.