Bengaluru may give India drones to transport organs


 BENGALURU: For a patient awaiting a transplant, every second is crucial. Leading scientists have put their heads together for a project that will ensure speedy transportation of hearts and other vital organs. If all goes according to plan, Bengaluru will give India unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — popularly called drones — to ferry organs.
With the traffic in the city blocking up roads without respite, Bengaluru’s top scientists are working on an aerial borne venture for time-bound and emergency transportation of organs. If things go right, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or a drone, might be used for the speedy transport of vital organs, especially the heart.
Working with international experts, the project is headed by the father of India’s indigenous fighter Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Kota Harinarayana and senior scientist K.Ramachandra, from the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF). “We formulated the UAV to work past the challenges posed by the traditional form of organ ferry, which is via road,” says Kota Harinarayana to The News Minute, stressing on the significance of faster routes. “We wanted to develop a simpler, yet an affordable solution for organ transport,” he adds.


The project will enable hospitals to cut down on the transportation time by more than 50% and save more lives.
While a kidney can be stored for 24 hours, a liver can be kept for 12-15 hours and a heart can be preserved for less than 10 hours. Currently, organs are largely transported via road — a green corridor is created for the smooth transit of ambulances. Kota, along with another senior scientist K Ramachandra from the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF), who is spearheading the Rs 100-crore National Programme for Micro Air Vehicles (NP-Micav) and a few others in the US, is in the process of finalizing details. According to Kota. “We have struggled with this kind of technology before. However if the project is implemented, it would definitely revolutionize organ transport,” he says. Operating on miniaturized control systems, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be able to carry 250 grams of weight. “Even if the vehicle travels at a speed of 100 to 150 km per hour, it would be good enough,” he adds.
“Once the specifications from doctors and engineers are finalized — the first leg of the process is expected to be complete this week — we will take the project to the government for funding and clearance,” Kota said. While Kota is a veteran aerospace scientist, Ramachandra and his team have experience in unmanned vehicle development and various technologies related to it.