Watch The First-Ever Drone Delivery From Ship To Land

Small packages with a potentially big impact

It was a much a technological demonstration as it was a trial run for the future. Yesterday, a small hexacopter collected medical samples from people on the land, flew to its home ship, and then returned to shore, carrying medicine. Operated by drone delivery service Flirtey, the promise is better medicine after coastal tragedies.

First, though, the drones have to get from shore to ship.

And then from ship to shore (or floating shore-like stand-in).

Earlier this month, Popular Science spoke with both the Flirtey team and pathologist Dr. Timothy Amukele, who’s supporting the work. As we noted then, the small packages carried by Flirety’s drones are big enough to transport blood samples, which first responders on the shore could collect and then send to a hospital ship for testing. The drones, flying up to five miles each way over water, provide a tiny logistical link, which could catch diseases faster than having to get samples to labs that are difficult to reach over land.

Watch a video on the demonstration below:

Kelsey D. Atherton
Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Atherton is a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.