Drones to transport medical supplies to Kansas for pilot project

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Within months, drones could deliver medical supplies to and from Hutchinson Hospital.

Air Methods, an aerial medical service provider, has launched Spright, a drone program designed to help address procurement challenges in the healthcare industry. Spright is kicking off the project by partnering with the Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (HRMC) and using Wingcopter delivery drones.

But before drones can actually carry medical supplies, drugs, or lab samples, they will be subjected to feasibility flights from the hospital.

Chuck Welch, director of business development at HRMC, said the drones will need to demonstrate that they can operate unmanned using GPS and cell towers. He says Hutchinson was chosen for this pilot project because of the large open space around town.

Welch says the items will start out small, like a piece of paper, but once the program is up and running, drones will be able to carry around 13 pounds of items.

The drone that will be used, the Wingcopter 198, can travel 68 miles on a single battery charge and at speeds of up to 89 miles per hour, depending on conditions.

If all goes well, Spright plans to deploy a fleet of 100 drones across the United States.


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