Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carrying packages of blood departed from Shenzhen Bao’an Central Blood Station and finished their tasks at aprons in Shenzhen Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine and The Seventh Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, respectively, Thursday.
The unmanned blood deliveries mark the opening of the city’s first routes for blood delivery by drones, making a solid progress in terms of life saving and low-altitude economy in Shenzhen.
A drone carrying a thermostat container with 1,200 milliliters of blood departs from Shenzhen Bao’an Central Blood Center on Thursday. Ji Jingbo
The first batch of unmanned blood delivery routes is set between the district blood station and Shenzhen Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine in Bao’an and The Seventh Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangming.
For the deliveries, the center’s staffers packed each drone with 1,200 milliliters of blood inside a blue thermostat container. At the launch ceremony, a big display screen showed information such as real-time images from the destination hospitals, and the drones’ movements and current locations. The drones can carry a maximum load of 10 kilograms and fly as far as 20 kilometers.
Zhang Sheng, a staffer from the blood center, said that the center is responsible for providing blood for clinical use to medical institutions in Bao’an and Guangming districts.
A closer look at the blood delivery drone. Liu Shihao
The Bao’an blood center, located at the district’s southernmost part, is over 30 kilometers away from the Shenzhen Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine. Timely blood transportation will be almost impossible when encountering a traffic jam if vehicles are used. The drone delivery will cut nearly one and a half hours for a round-trip blood delivery, compared with traditional vehicle delivery.
According to Zhang, hospitals usually have an urgent need for blood during emergency treatments.
In recent years, cities such as Shanghai and Hangzhou have been operating blood deliveries by drones. The Bao’an blood center started working on its unmanned blood delivery project last year.
In 2022, the blood station recorded 45,255 blood donations, with 14.5 metric tons of whole blood and 7,743 units of platelets collected.