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Hartford-based Aquiline Drones showcases new tech that could save lives

The plan is to use it to deliver vital organs, human tissue, and blood supplies.

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — The team at Hartford-based Aquiline Drones was test flying the "Spartacus Max" atop a South Windsor field on Monday, and they discussed what they see as the future of time-critical cargo. The plan is to use it to deliver vital organs, human tissue, and blood supplies.

Barry Alexander, the CEO of Aquiline Drones, said, “Minutes matter in saving lives, and that’s what the drones are designed to do. Shave down on the transportation time.”

All Aquiline’s grand plans face the hurdles of the FAA, which will need to give the green light for such a program. There is no timetable on if or when that approval could happen.

Aquiline's Director of Flight Operations Tom Keck said drone delivery of vital organs makes sense, and the technology exists.

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“An ambulance or regular car has to deal with traffic and obviously line of site with the use of the drone would be an improvement over that challenge,” Keck said. “The vision, the goal, is to bypass that and do it effectively and safely with a drone.”

It has been a turbulent month for Aquiline Drones. They have cited the constraints of COVID-19 for an array of challenges, forcing them to lay off 33 workers – about 40 percent of their workforce.

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Among their hopes are that such programs like the Spartacus take off.

Alexander said, “It is the future, the future is here today.”  

 Alexander added that vital organs can be delivered from hospital to hospital or airport to hospital, using the payload bay that Aquiline’s drone carries. They say the Spartacus Max can fly for about 40 minutes on a single charge.

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Alexander, a longtime commercial jet pilot in his former life, said, for example, “from Brainard Airport you can get to Hartford Hospital using a drone in a matter of two minutes, hence saving lives.”

The Spartacus Max Drone has a price tag of about $26,000. To learn more about Aquiline Drones, click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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