With backing from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and support from the government of Madagascar, Vayu Inc. and Stony Brook University recently deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to transport blood and stool samples from rural villages to centralized labs in Madagascar.
Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University says it aims to help improve human health and ecosystems on Madagascar and other developing countries through its Global Health Institute and Centre ValBio.
Aware of the lack of roads leading to the communities most heavily burdened by diseases in these countries, faculty and students from Stony Brook University Medical Center partnered with Vayu, a start-up that was founded with the specific purpose of developing delivery drones as a way to transport blood, stool and tissue samples to the Centre ValBio research station for quick diagnosis.
Vayu’s fully autonomous drones, which employ vertical takeoff and landing
(VTOL), were flown from villages to Stony Brook University’s Centre ValBio research station for further testing.
Ultimately, Stony Brook hopes the partnership enable the delivery of proper medications in a timely manner and thus put the communities on the road to better health.
“The flights to and from villages in the Ifanadiana district [of Madagascar] ushers in a new era in bringing healthcare to people living in really remote settings,” explains Dr. Peter Small, the founding director of Stony Brook’s Global Health Institute. “This would not have been possible without the support of the government and people of Madagascar. In this context, drones will find innumerable uses, such as accelerating the diagnosis of tuberculosis and ensuring the delivery of vaccines.”