In Delivery Drones, Scrappy Can Beat Costly
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
A drone named Frankenstein may hold important lessons for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, in humanitarian aid, development or environmental conservation.
With rubber bands and duct tape holding its foam parts together, “Frankie,” as the drone is called, recently outperformed a far costlier prototype to deliver anti-venom and blood samples in fridge packs to a remote village in Peru, according to a report released by WeRobotics today and provided in advance to Devex.
The test flights demonstrate how simple technologies may be better suited to many development delivery tasks. They also reveal how the global development community can play a role in conducting independent monitoring for an emerging industry that experts say is in need of greater transparency. The results of these test flights were self-reported.
Peru Flying Labs repurposed a $3,000 fixed wing mapping drone for the cargo delivery mission, replacing its camera with the medical payload, anti-venom in one flight and blood in the other. The result, Frankie, made the delivery from the town of Contamana to the remote village of Pampa Hermosa in the Amazon Rainforest, a trip that takes six hours by riverboat.