Guest Article by Amanda Shaffer (Advexure Aerial & Action Photography Systems)
When it comes to rescue operations, there’s always a bigger chance of finding lost civilians when you’re searching from above. It’s also faster transporting medicines or medical supplies to a remote area via airlift compared to a land or sea delivery.
Traditional aircrafts usually address this problem, but limitations like high-maintenance and its large size can make it hard for rescue teams to reach remote areas with larger aircrafts. Landing in small spaces is difficult and dangerous and necessary local support teams are often scarce. Luckily, if a civilian is lost in the middle of nowhere or hurtin a place where medical aid is simply far off, small, unmanned aerial aircrafts called drones can better help in an immediate rescue operation.
Drone Technology Transmission
Drones have the capacity to carry medicines and other medical supplies and transport them to remote areas without much expense and effort. And thanks to opportunities for improving drone technology such as the UAV Challenge Medical Express, undergraduate teams such as the Monash Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have developed a UAV system that transports blood samples from a remote location to a base location in shorter periods of time.
Drones for Blood Sample Delivery
Keeping blood samples is highly time-sensitive, since they need to be kept at low temperatures around 39-44 degrees and for a maximum period of seven days. Apart from the required temperature and indicated period, blood samples can easily expire making it useless in medical examinations, which is why drones play a very important role in this retrieval process.
Drones for Spotting Outback Joe
A dummy lost in the middle of nowhere to be retrieved by drones, Outback Joe represents solo flight travellers who may be stuck up a mountain because of a foggy climate, lost in the woods or in a remote area and in need of urgent medical attention. This dummy is a recipient of the UAV Challenge, providing efficient drone technology that will respond to search and rescue operations mentioned earlier.
UAV Challenge Improving Drone Efficiency
As the competition for creating the best drone design continues, search and rescue teams are able to carry out actual rescue operations more efficiently. Even with limited manpower, trip times are being reduced thanks to the contribution of groups who innovate the usual aircraft needs into something more viable for medical use.
Drone technology is rapidly growing in the U.S.; more and more rescue teams are prioritising civilian safety with ergonomic and efficient drones that are easy to manage with the aid of the rules of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. In the long run, the use of drone technology will improve communication between rescue teams and their beneficiaries and partner support groups as well and minimise causalities because of delays and aircraft troubleshooting.
2018 is going to be a tremendous year as Monash UAS will be participating in the 2018 UAV Challenge Medical express!
The challenge will be taken place in Dalby, Queensland and involves an aircraft to autonomously navigate and locate the landing site, retrieve a blood sample as well as fly back to base. Although simple, the task at hand relies on a range of operations such as vertical take-off and landings, independent navigation, ensuring sufficient power supply and braving the tough Australian weather just to name a few.
This competition really pushes the boundaries of unmanned aircraft and highlights the practicality of using drones to be able to save lives, particularly in the outback where most forms of transport fail.
Monash UAS is also a step closer to the competition by passing the first deliverable along with 55 other teams with many of them from other countries.
Being the only undergraduate university team competing internationally, this is a remarkable success and will only outshine the milestones achieved in the future. With a great team and the right resources, Monash UAS will be a very serious competitor in this year’s UAV Challenge Medical express!
Over the 2nd-5th March weekend, Monash UAS made the drive out to Avalon Airport for the 2017 Avalon Airshow. The Avalon Airshow is hosted every two years and is an opportunity for aircraft enthusiasts from all over the world to come together to see and discuss aircraft and associated technologies. There were dazzling displays of flight formations and manoeuvres by the world’s top pilots. As well as the flight displays there are private jets, small aircraft, commercial aircraft and military aircraft on display on the ground. Inside the trade halls over 600 industries were represented to demonstrate their advances in technology and research. Prior to the public days, Avalon was open for industries and students to
network and explore opportunities for collaboration.
This year marks the first time the team was able to open our own stall to showcase our 2016 competition aircraft for the industries and the public to see. We were situated inside the Drone Showcase among other companies and universities involved in the drone community. Our 2016 competition mainframe was on display as well as the 2014 model. The team answered hundreds of questions about the competition and what we do allowing us to inform the public about the construction of the aircraft and what it can do. Hobbyists were thoroughly interested in our control systems and the potential uses of our aircraft.
Monash UAS made many contacts with industries, potential sponsors and interested individuals that we’ll be exploring in the next few weeks. Having such contacts will help us to improve our manufacturing, programming and piloting capabilities in the next year.
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