Jun 10, 2016 | By Benedict

Flirtey, the Nevada-based independent delivery service using 3D printed drones to deliver packages, has announced its first ship-to-shore US delivery. On June 23, Flirtey will fly drones carrying medical equipment to an onshore medical relief camp from a vessel off the coast of Cape May, New Jersey.

A few months ago, Flirtey completed its first urban FAA test, flying a 3D printed drone to an unoccupied house in Hawthorne, Nevada, delivering a package of bottled water, food, and a first aid kit. And while such domestic drone flights could be scheduled for both urgent an non-urgent deliveries, Flirtey is taking steps to prepare its futuristic service for its most important challenge: humanitarian aid. The innovative delivery service will this month conduct its first-ever US ship-to-shore delivery in New Jersey, hoping to show the world the massive humanitarian potential in UAV delivery. The young company has joined forces with experts at Johns Hopkins University to plan and conduct the milestone flight.

According to the Flirtey, the scheduled delivery with the 3D printed drone will showcase the humanitarian potential of drones for organizations like the United Nations and American Red Cross, who could use drones like Flirtey’s to deliver urgent aid and medical care to hard-to-reach areas: “Imagine a future where in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, Flirtey drones rapidly deliver emergency medical supplies, food and water,” said Matt Sweeny, Flirtey CEO. “This demonstration is helping to make that future a reality, and taking us one step closer to Flirtey’s mission to save lives and change lifestyles.”

Dr. Timothiny Kien Amukele, an assistant professor of pathology at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, will be working with Flirtey to share his expertise on medical drones, having previously conducted research into the use of UAVs to transport blood samples and products to medical bases. With Amukele serving as as volunteer advisor, Flirtey will, on June 23, fly drones carrying medical samples for emergency testing to an onshore medical relief camp at Cape May, New Jersey, from a mobile test facility on a vessel off the New Jersey coast.

It is hoped that the success of the ship-to-shore delivery will, in the long term, have a global impact on humanitarian efforts, particularly with regard to humanitarian crises in coastal cities, and will demonstrate how drones can provide life-saving aid to victims of disaster. Eight of the 10 largest cities in the world are coastal cities, according to the UN, which makes ship-to-shore aid an incredibly important task on the humanitarian agenda. The scheduled flights of the 3D printed drones have been organized by non-profit Field Innovation Team (FIT) as part of the Drones in Disaster ‘Do Tank’ organization.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to provide urgent aid and advanced diagnosis tools into a disaster zone with interoperability with key government relief assets,” said Tom Bass, Flirtey cofounder. “This event wouldn’t be possible without Mark and Kyle from Ryan Media Lab. Flirtey has been the beneficiary of their amazing ability to build coalitions here in Cape May, and also when we conducted the first FAA-approved drone delivery last year in Wise, Virginia.”

For the forthcoming New Jersey delivery, representatives from the United Nations and the American Red Cross will have the opportunity to see the partially 3D printed craft in flight, with the former organization declaring its open-mindedness regarding the technology on display: “We recognize the opportunity for us to engage with drone developers and operators in ensuring the principled application of game-changing technologies in response to humanitarian crises around the world,” said Andrew Billo, United Nations OCHA humanitarian affairs officer.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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