Organ donation in India has always been a tricky road. With a society that is not up to par with the idea of donating organs and a lax regulatory system, only 1 in 5000 patients on the wait list actually gets an organ. But the waiting period for people on the list just got shorter. Bengaluru has announced a project that will ferry organs across the country via drones.
These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are supposed to cut transportation time by half to save more lives. Kota Harinarayan, also known as the father of the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is spearheading the project with another senior scientist K Ramachandra from the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF). They are overlooking the 100-crore National Programme for Micro Air Vehicles (NP-Micav).
With a mission to transport hearts as a priority, they believe other organs can also be transported via drones as they have better harvesting hours. 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 being transported in ambulances through the green corridor which links roadways.
The current design will be able to carry upto 250 gms weight but their real challenge lies in transporting over a 100km range. They are also designing a vehicle fit to be a UAV size and not a micro size. According to Kota, who is a veteran aerospace scientist, the first leg of the project will be completed within a week.
The team is looking at creating two possibilities with either creating a technology to preserve organs in a UAV or creating drones that carry organs in a special box, they way it is done now. If the technology is proven to be safe, all it will need is a DGCA license to fly.
Words: Preksha Malu