News and Events

Rapid and Safe Air Delivery of Blood Packs – By Drone!

Publication Date: 4/3/2023 11:00 AM
For the first time in Israel, as part of the National Drone Initiative, blood packs were transported 25.2 kilometers, between Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.
L–R) Amir Ben-Yosef, Nissim Haim, Deputy Director (C.O.O.) at Rambam, and Iditha Israeli
.  Photography: Rambam HCC.L–R) Amir Ben-Yosef, Nissim Haim, Deputy Director (C.O.O.) at Rambam, and Iditha Israeli . Photography: Rambam HCC.

As part of a pilot feasibility test, blood packs supplied by Magen David Adom blood services were successfully transported by drone from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. As part of the test, blood units and components were transported in collaboration with aviation companies “Cando Drones,” “Dronery Fly,” two hospitals in Northern Israel – Rambam Health Care Campus and Galilee Medical Center – as well as the Israeli Innovation Authority, Government Hospitals Division at the Ministry of Health, Magen David Adom Blood Services, and the Civil Aviation Authority, which coordinated the flight with a special security system. The Government Hospitals Division has been involved in the drone initiative from the beginning, is a pioneer in the healthcare sector, and was responsible for initiating the feasibility study. Their goal is to make the drones operational and use them to save lives in routine and emergency situations.

The successful experiment was completed as planned, with takeoff at 09:42 am. The entire flight was performed using the remote control center of Cando Drones, located in Pardes Hanna-Karkur. During the test, all systems were tested at the strategic level with the cooperation of all involved parties. The blood packs were tested before and after delivery by the laboratories of Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya to verify the contents were not damaged.

The drone was manufactured by a Brazilian company, “Speedbird,” equipped with a carrying capacity of up to 10 kilograms, and autonomously flew according to a pre-defined flight plan. The initiative is part of a series of feasibility flights aimed at finding ways to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into Israel’s emergency response systems, enabling faster and more efficient delivery of essential medical supplies, including blood packs, to remote areas or in emergency situations.

Drone World: What Does the Future Hold?

Israel’s National Drone Initiative is a unique partnership between the Ministry of Transportation, the Innovation Authority, Ayalon Highways, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Its goal is to prepare Israel’s airspace to support public air transportation alongside of the development and implementation of breakthrough technologies in the developing drone industry.

The initiative is currently in the midst of several country-wide demonstrative tests that enable long-range flights carrying heavy weights. The aim is transportation of goods and passengers by unmanned aerial vehicles, providing an innovative solution to Israel’s overburdened transportation system.

Israel’s National Drone Initiative is implementing pioneering technology at the national and global levels and could establish a new transportation paradigm. By enabling the autonomous operation of drones in a controlled urban environment, with economic viability, this initiative could become the foundation for establishing a national system for managing autonomous transportation.

Amir Ben-Yosef, director of the Operations Division at Rambam says, “In the near future, this innovative drone solution will provide a real and immediate response to extreme events that we, as a trauma center, are required to deal with. Such a unique solution is a direct continuation of the operational excellence that is currently pursued at Rambam Health Care Campus.”

The Magen David Adom’s vice president of blood services, Professor Eilat Shanar explains, “Transferring blood packs and other supplies in drones can be an excellent solution for urgent situations where blood must be administered to save lives in difficult-to-access areas due to man-made or natural forces. This feasibility test proves that it is possible and that the development and optimization of the drone delivery process must continue so that it can be implemented in the near future.”

The director of the blood bank laboratory at Galilee Medical Center, Dr. Moran Sarfati, adds, “During an emergency, a drone has the advantage of speed and availability. The faster the blood packs arrive, the greater the chances of saving lives. Hence, this project is very important.”

The chief executive officer of Cando Drones, Yoali Or, points out: “The successful completion of this feasibility test will not only help in the transport of blood packs. In the future, drones will provide an additional route for the transfer of medical equipment between medical centers, without depending on busy travel routes, leading to faster and safer response times. These upgraded capabilities will contribute to the nation’s resilience during an emergency or natural disaster, and should significantly improve the critical response to save human lives.”

Click below to see the drone take off with the blood packs from Rambam Health Care Campus for delivery at Galilee Medical Center.