Air Methods, an air medical service provider, in the USA, has announced the launch of Spright, a newly formed drone solution designed to help improve healthcare access and minimize supply challenges. Collaborating with Wingcopter, Spright is creating a drone-based, healthcare-specific delivery network across the United States. As a result of the nation’s efforts to keep healthcare costs down, Americans are impacted by a lack of immediate or timely access to healthcare resources. When these shortages impact the availability of blood products, medicines, diagnostics or small medical devices, the consequences can be dire.
The solution is a flexible, rapid distribution network designed with 21st-century technology. This new drone delivery network will improve access to urgently needed medical supplies for healthcare providers and the communities they serve. Air Methods will make this possible by deploying fleets of Wingcopter’s new flagship delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198. The team at Wingcopter has the proven technology and production capacity to enable Spright to create a nationwide network, built around Air Methods’ existing infrastructure of more than 300 bases, serving hundreds of hospitals, across 48 states in predominantly rural areas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some of the real challenges in our health care system creating an opportunity to find better solutions to extend access to healthcare, especially in rural America,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods. “That is why we are doing what Air Methods’ does best, taking to the skies, using the latest in technology and drone innovation, delivering hope and facilitating healing with speed and efficiency that was previously unimaginable. We see Spright serving a vastly underserved market and playing a huge role in a future full of better outcomes for everyone.” This fall, Spright will be kicking off this endeavor by partnering with Hutchinson Regional Medical System, in Hutchinson, Kan., for the launch of an initial pilot project using Wingcopter’s delivery drones. This project will provide a proof of concept of how this new and exciting venture can provide needed relief and certainty for medical resources in rural America. Spright will provide additional details on this initial project as the deployment draws near.
The Wingcopter 198 is an autonomous eVTOL delivery drone that enables safe, reliable, fast, and bi-directional medical deliveries. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility and ease of use in operations. The company’s patented tilt-rotor technology allows for vertical take-off and landing, while also enabling efficient forward flight over long ranges, thus eliminating the need for additional infrastructure. The drone has a range of up to 68 miles (110 kilometers), a maximum speed of 90 mph (145 kilometers per hour) and can carry a payload of up to 13 lbs. (6 kg).
“We are thrilled to team up with Air Methods to create a life-saving drone delivery network throughout the United States,” said Tom Plümmer, Co-Founder and CEO of Wingcopter. “Our technology has been used globally to effectively deliver medical supplies, for example insulin in Ireland, children’s vaccines in Vanuatu, emergency medication in Malawi, and just recently, blood samples in Germany. Our vision to ‘save and improve lives’ resonates perfectly with Air Methods’ legacy of providing lifesaving care, combined with Spright’s ambition to improve the quality of healthcare across the U.S. by deploying fleets of Wingcopters, and we are excited about scaling this together.”