- Airbus has signed a memo of understanding (MOU) with International SOS, a medical services company, to study medical supply deliveries using aircraft or unmanned systems, Air Cargo News reports.
- The two companies are exploring medical cargo delivery pilots in Singapore and Indonesia. "If successful, this could be extended to International SOS operations globally," a press release stated.
- Through the MOU, Airbus and International SOS will study urban to rural drone deliveries, as well as ship to shore.
When it comes to delivering medical supplies in hard to reach places, Airbus is a bit behind the curve.
CyPhy is a company in the Boston area that has been working with UPS on drone deliveries supporting medical needs. Zipline is another company utilizing drones to get medical supplies where they need to be. They are focused on Africa but look to go global.
There are also drones that work like ambulances, delivering defibrillators with direct audio and video hook-ups while the ambulance is in route, often to remote areas.
I’ll be honest, autonomous vehicles scare me, especially having a driverless tandem trailer getting cozy with me on the interstate. Not that they can be any worse than the wild Massachusetts drivers who wear that title like a badge of honor.
Perhaps my aversion to autonomous vehicles comes from my love of driving. Who would want to give up that pleasure? I don’t even like being a passenger ... let me drive!
I want to have a reason for autonomous vehicles beyond saving money on drivers or mitigating the driver shortages. I support autonomous vehicles in the warehouse supporting my 2-day shipping program, and those automated container picking gantries save time and money, getting drivers on the road and freight to the customer more quickly.
Perhaps now the drone market has matured, Airbus sees the business case for using manned aircraft or unmanned systems to deliver medical supplies. Their jets are highly automated and it is not a stretch to have them fly themselves.
The fact that these jets, or some iteration, could autonomously fly medical supplies and equipment into remote areas and help save lives. This is using autonomous vehicles for the good of humankind. I hope it catches on.