Skip to Content
Computing

The Marines are testing drone medicine deliveries

October 22, 2019
US Marines on a medical drone exercise
US Marines on a medical drone exercise
US Marines on a medical drone exerciseZipline

The news: The US Marine Corps has successfully tested autonomous medical drone deliveries during four exercises in Australia, working with the Australian military and drone logistics company Zipline. The tests took place between July 30 and September 5.

The exercises: The aim was to prove that drones could autonomously deliver medicine, critical care, or other vital supplies in a war zone, according to Andrew Musto, program manager at the US Department of Defense’s innovation unit. The DoD first tested the idea with Zipline in the US last year. In Australia it flew over 400 sorties, including deliveries of mock blood and plasma supplies to “simulated mass casualty events.”

Why it’s notable: Medical deliveries by drone aren’t exactly a novel idea: just yesterday, for example, UPS announced plans to work with CVS Health to deliver prescription drugs by drone. What’s new here is doing it on the battlefield. Currently, supplies must be transported by convoy or helicopter, which is time-consuming and costly. “Whether you can get critical aid to someone badly injured in the first hour has a significant impact on the chance they will survive,” Musto said. Moreover, using convoys or helicopters means putting the troops in them in danger too. With drones, there’s no chance of further loss of life.

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Deep Dive

Computing

Russia is risking the creation of a “splinternet”—and it could be irreversible

If Russia disconnects from—or is booted from— the internet’s governing bodies, the internet may never be the same again for any of us.

Conceptual illustration of quantum computing circuity, in multiple colors
Conceptual illustration of quantum computing circuity, in multiple colors

Quantum computing has a hype problem

Quantum computing startups are all the rage, but it’s unclear if they’ll be able to produce anything of use in the near future.

winning team for Pwn2own 2022
winning team for Pwn2own 2022

These hackers showed just how easy it is to target critical infrastructure

Two Dutch researchers have won a major hacking championship by hitting the software that runs the world’s power grids, gas pipelines, and more. It was their easiest challenge yet.

white house regulates cyber concept
white house regulates cyber concept

Inside the plan to fix America’s never-ending cybersecurity failures

The specter of Russian hackers and an overreliance on voluntary cooperation from the private sector means officials are finally prepared to get tough.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.