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Jul 25, 2021

Drones could help save soldiers’ lives by delivering blood on demand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones, military, robotics/AI

Getting blood to a wounded soldier could be the difference between life and death. A drone swarm is one way to make that happen in battle.


Blood is usually a finite quality on a battlefield. Battles can cause a number of injuries, from the minor to the critical. If a soldier can get the wound closed in time, they can staunch the loss, but keeping the patient alive may require an influx of new blood. As medics work to aid their comrades, they could receive help from an unusual source: delivery drones, bringing literal fresh blood to the battlefield.

A drone swarm capable of delivering blood was part of Autonomous Advance Force 4.0, an exercise by the United Kingdom’s armed forces in which Royal Marines Commandos trained with modern technology for future war. The July exercise took place in Cumbria and Dorset, with a release announced July 17.

The swarm consisted of six medium-heavy lift drones, Malloy Aeronautics TRV-150s. The TRV-150 can carry up to 140 lbs, at a range of up to 43 miles, with a maximum flight time of 36 minutes. Malloy drones got their start back in 2014 as a hoverbike concept, which was then proposed for the US military as a kind of ridden-drone scout. The US Army explored a large version of the drone as a “tactical resupply” vehicle in 2017. In TRV-150 form, the drone is an octocopter, with two rotors on each of four limbs.

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