Medical drone flights could be in the future for Maryland

Medical drone flights could be in the future for Maryland

A drone flight over the Chesapeake Bay could one day be our lifeline.

“We need to keep pushing the boundaries to go further, go higher, go bigger,” said Matt Scassero, the director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site at the University of Maryland.

Scassero showed us his mission from two weeks ago. The drone carried what would be real medication in an emergency. It traveled 28-minutes over the Bay from Calvert County to Dorchester County. A car ride would take about three hours and 45 minutes.

The video shows the drone landing and an employee of the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health getting his hands on the supplies for a patient.

“What happens if, if a hurricane, something happens to the bridge, engineering disaster, whatever where you can’t get quickly to the places that you need to, especially if there’s a medical need,” said Scassero.

The test site was given special permission to fly the drone beyond the operator’s visual line of sight. But in time, it is their mission to make medical missions part of the general regulations through the FAA.

“If it helps lives and it could help get the medication faster to that person, then I feel like we should go for it,” said Sikoya Gordon, who lives in St. Mary’s County.

Test flights allow the team to work out the kinks. Scassero says future drone use looks even faster.

“You’ll fly over the site and be able to drop the packages to them without having to land the aircraft,” he said.

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