Porto company optimizes drones for transporting medicines and blood tests

in News · 22-02-2020 16:00:00 · 0 Comments

A company based in the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC), called Connect Robotics, is developing "a new version" of containers, installed in 'drones', to transport medicines and blood tests, revealed the founder.

The idea of ??exploring the area of ??transport in the scope of unmanned aerial vehicles ('drones') is not new. It came about six years ago, when Eduardo Mendes and a colleague were doing their PhD at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).

"We found out that we needed to focus on a specific sector and, after analyzing the various sectors, we came to the conclusion that the most useful place for these vehicles would be in the area of ??transportation", Eduardo Mendes explained, speaking to Lusa, adding that hence the Connect Robotics spin-off.

Quickly, the company born and headquartered at UPTEC started to demonstrate "how these vehicles could be useful, safe and efficient" in the transportation of goods.

"We did a demonstration at CTT (Correios de Portugal) in Canelas, from a distribution point to a customer, and in Lisbon, from a distribution centre in Cabo Ruivo to CTT's offices in Parque das Nações. At the same time, we also did a demonstration for Santa Casa da Misericórdia, where we transported lunch boxes to the elderly who were in villages", he said.

It was from these demonstrations that they drew "the attention of the health sector", for whom this system "is a necessity".

"We were contacted by the director of Lajeosa do Dão pharmacy, in Viseu, and it was with him that we established the first contract", said Eduardo Mendes, adding that "this would not be possible" without the authorization of the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) and Infarmed.

At this moment, the device, which carries up to a kilo of merchandise, is installed in the Lajeosa do Dão pharmacy and allows the institution to distribute medicines to associations and nursing homes.

According to Eduardo Mendes, the Connect Robotics team, which does not develop 'drones', but optimizes them for transport, is now working on a "new version of the container", in order to "increase its capacity".

To Lusa, the official said that, soon, "they will show the results" obtained through this technology to Infarmed, so that they can, in the future, "expand the business to other pharmacies" in the country.

"In the pharmaceutical area, in 2018, we competed for the João Cordeiro award for innovation in pharmacy and won. We drew the attention of the National Pharmacy Association and even after that, other pharmacies contacted us. So the idea is, like this, that we have authorization from Infarmed, we start working with other pharmacies", he said.

In addition to the application of this equipment to the transport of medicines, Connect Robotics is also working with a hospital in Lisbon to transport clinical analyzes in the future.

"We are in the process of authorizations, because in Lisbon, Porto and Faro, the process is more complicated, as these are controlled air spaces", he concluded.

The solution developed by Connect Robotics, which employs three employees, is being presented at UPTEC within the scope of TechNorValue, a programme that aims to promote the innovation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the North region.


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