Saskatoon drone firm helping Ukraine humanitarian efforts

Saskatoon-based business is part of a project which aims to deliver medical supplies using drones in Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Cameron Chell, Draganfly CEO, said that they had been working in Texas on a project where drones would deliver emergency medical supplies in remote areas. Revived Soldiers Ukraine, an organization that provides aid in Ukraine, reached them.

“I came across the project through my friend in Texas, and I asked him if he wanted to help. Chell shared that we have ambulances. They’re either being shot, confiscated, or can’t get through. However, our critical supplies are needed to get in these hard-to-reach areas.

Chell claims Draganfly has sent drones over the Ukraine already and plans to send up to 200 drones in the coming summer to deliver supplies like AEDs, pharmaceuticals, epipens, and blood.

The drones will reach a maximum range of 20 kms and will carry a payload weight of 35 pounds. This includes small refrigeration devices supplied by Coldchain Delivery Services.

He stated that they have radio and visual communications to allow them to transport the equipment and drop it off. They can also retrieve the equipment from the warehouse and return it to the depot. However, they should stay back between five and seven miles and 10 kilometers away from danger.

It can fly over a large area and has an automatic hover mode. The drone comes in and hovers for a few moments three feet off of the ground. Once it’s done hovering, it drops the load and then gets out. We don’t ask anyone to get out from where they are sheltered, hiding or whatever it may be until it is safe. The drone also gets out of there.

Michael Wright is the CEO of NuGen Medical Devices located in southern Ontario. He was inspired by a story about the depleting medical supplies in Ukraine.

He explained that they were likely to run out on treatments and inject themselves. In addition, insulin would be exhausted in three months.

“If your insulin dose is not being taken, it could be that you become a casualty.

Wright says NuGen makes only the medical devices and no insulin. A GoFundMe has been started to help pay the purchase cost. Their goal is to raise $250,000, but they have already raised $60,000 so far.

“That’s really just to get started, so we hope that the first shipments to Ukraine for diabetes kit shipments will be done within the next week.”

Chell stated, “It’s almost only serendipitous,” when Chell spoke of the company collaboration in the project.

“There is no doubt that not just Draganfly and drones but also Revived soldiers Ukraine are going do some good, and save some lives. However, I am certain that NuGen will accomplish the same thing with the device and insulin they provide.

Chell states Draganfly is also providing two other drones with thermal cameras. They will be able help locate rescuers as well as potential threats.

He stated, “It is the combination of these 3 drones that will hopefully provide an effective humanitarian intervention.”

Some drones might be shot down, or damaged. But Chell believes that it is worth it to help.

“Who cares? Send another. He Cameron Chell Calgary suggested sending 10 more.

“A drone that costs $15,000 to $30,000, and you don’t have to transport an ambulance or people or personnel to the scene, is insignificant.”

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