The Army is testing drones that can deliver life-saving blood to the battlefield.

Army researchers and tech companies demonstrated an unmanned aircraft delivering whole blood to a landing zone in Virginia. What if vampires delivered blood instead of taking it away? That seems to be the key concept at work behind the Army’s latest idea to deliver life-saving blood to medics in the field via autonomous drones.

In August, a team of Army researchers worked with tech companies Near Earth Autonomy and L3Harris Technologies to demonstrate an unmanned aircraft delivering whole blood to a landing zone in Fort Pickett, Virginia. It was not clear if the drone was actually carrying blood, but the drone nonetheless showed off its ability to fly over the LZ, scan the terrain for a suitable place to touch down and then come to a smooth stop in the field. If the landing zone was too cluttered to land, the drone just dropped the delivery off from a low-altitude hover, or released transport pods via parachute.

The new tech could be a big step forward for battlefield first aid, where medics and corpsmen fight against the clock to get their patients the care they need with the limited resources they have in the field. Delivering blood via drone presents key advantages because it would ramp up the amount of resources those medics have available without putting human pilots at risk, should the troops in the field be isolated by hostile fire or poor weather conditions.

In the August exercise, the team used an FVR-90 drone, which can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, fly 12 to 18 hours and carry up to 22 pounds of payload in its nose. The L3Harris product also carries a suite of sensors to help it determine where to land near medics in need.

Bron: Task & Purpose