This aerial borne venture would reduce the time involved in organ transport

Bengaluru scientists working on drones that will ferry organs meant for transplantsFlickr Creative Commons/ Don McCullough
news Innovation Saturday, May 07, 2016 - 17:20

With the traffic in the city blocking up roads without respite, Bengaluru’s top scientists are working on an aerial borne venture for time-bound and emergency transportation of organs. If things go right, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or a drone, might be used for the speedy transport of vital organs, especially the heart.

Working with international experts, the project is headed by the father of India's indigenous fighter Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Kota Harinarayana and senior scientist K.Ramachandra, from the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF). “We formulated the UAV to work past the challenges posed by the traditional form of organ ferry, which is via road,” says Kota Harinarayana to The News Minute, stressing on the significance of faster routes. “We wanted to develop a simpler, yet an affordable solution for organ transport,” he adds.

While countries like the US use helicopters and rented aircrafts for organ transportation, Kota says that is implausible in the Indian context, considering its expense. “While organs like kidney can be stored for 24 hours, the storage time for a heart is typically less than 6 hours. Heart transportation is another pivotal reason behind the vehicle’s origin,” Kota adds.

Though India has experimented with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircrafts in the past, it hasn’t been done precisely, according to Kota. “We have struggled with this kind of technology before. However if the project is implemented, it would definitely revolutionize organ transport,” he says. Operating on miniaturized control systems, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be able to carry 250 grams of weight. “Even if the vehicle travels at a speed of 100 to 150 km per hour, it would be good enough,” he adds.  

“We are working closely with medical and engineering professionals around the globe. Once the specifications regarding the vehicle are in order, we will take it further for government clearance and funding,” he says. Having come up with the prototype a couple of months ago, Kota gives the vehicle a good year, for it to be up and running. 

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