Behind the Wings ®
The Podcast – S2, Episode 13

A drone company delivers blood and pizza, but not in the same package!

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Today, we are going deeper with a company called MissionGo who is using drones to do a variety of things from infrastructure inspections to medical and commercial cargo. Our guests are MissionGo President Chris Corgnati, and Director of Flight Operations Ryan Henderson.

Last time on Episode 4 we discussed drone soccer, and the regulatory challenges that this quickly growing industry faces as it takes on autonomous flight, air taxi services and more, so if you want a great introduction on drones go check that out.

Infrastructure inspections are certainly important, and I know a lot of companies are out there doing that and it is where many of them are able to make money today, but I’m really excited about the medical applications. In April 2019, MissionGo did the first-ever drone delivery of an organ transplant, and since then they have delivered everything from pizza, to blood, and life-saving medication.

We should probably say the pizza and organs are separate delivery packages right, but in all seriousness, this is such a cool and important use case that I think we’re going to see more and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dr. Joe Scalea, a MissionGo cofounder and renowned transplant surgeon, conceived the idea to use drones for organ and medical transplant resulting in the first successful organ transplant in 2019, and the founding of MissionGo.
  • Why Drones? Drones are best for dull, dangerous, or dirty work. They also reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution when compared to larger, combustion engine aircraft.
  • MGV-100 is MissionGo’s flagship single rotor drone. The design lends itself to stability and reliability, which are critical for the sensitive medical loads that MissionGo transports.
  • The battery architecture provides redundancy in the case if one of the motors or batteries fails in-flight.
  • It is usually safer and more efficient to fly the drones autonomously, rather than manually.
  • Infrastructure surveying is currently how companies, including MissionGo, are able to generate the majority of their revenue while they work on other delivery programs that have yet to reach their full-scale potential.
  • MissionGo completed the First successful organ delivery for transplant by an uncrewed aerial vehicle or UAV in 2019. The delivery took just 10 minutes, covering about 2.6 miles from one hospital to another. Time is of the essence in these critical medical operations, making it a great use case for drone delivery.
  • MissionGo, MediGo and The Navajo Nation completed a series of flights in January 2022 using the MGV100 drone where they were able to deliver critical cargo like life-saving prescription medication, meal kits, and emergency supplies, even livestock medication to look at how drones could improve healthcare access in rural America.
  • When transporting biohazardous cargo like blood or organs technologies like tamperproof packaging and identity verification can help make these deliveries safe and successful.
  • We are just at the beginning at fully realizing and executing on the diverse applications of drone technology. There is already tremendous impact and results from the industry, and the future is bright.

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