Big Rock selected to the Top 10 of the NATO Innovation Challenge

Adam Luaces

Big Rock Technologies’ smart-drone medical supply chain innovations provide distribution and allocation solutions for first responders, rural communities, and isolated individuals. We will safely and effectively deliver 100 lbs of supplies, medicine, and testing to remote areas, helping local populations by vastly reducing time, exposure, and costs of travelling to healthcare facilities for evaluation, diagnostics, and procurement of medication. These unmanned aerial vehicle technologies improve community safety, mitigate risk, and enhance emergency response.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is the topic of the Spring 2020 Innovation Challenge, organised by the NATO Innovation Hub and the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The winners of the Spring 2020 Innovation Challenge will be announced on 17 June 2020. The Innovation Challenge aims to give NATO new, creative and efficient ways to respond to security challenges. The competition is run by the NATO Innovation Hub, led by Allied Command Transformation.

Our unmanned aerial vehicles are utilized to carry payloads, perform deliveries, and operate cameras to assess and execute specific, highly focused operational tasks. Each smart-drone will be equipped with a revolutionary universal OS (Operating System) allowing the smart-drone to become a robust aerial platform with autonomous and supervised flight capability to run analytics while assisting in health data collection, viral test processing, and medical supply delivery tasks.

An artificial intelligence powered module creates a sleek, power-efficient, GPU-accelerated, embedded intelligent system to process data from sensors for BLOS (beyond-line-of-sight) flight and unmanned navigation, as well as grappling hooks, payload carriers, refrigeration units, heat sensors and autonomous flight reconnaissance equipment. These technological advances allow municipalities and private organizations to develop customized applications specifically targeted to preventative services, with the ability to deliver products and services like food, equipment, and medicine before disaster strikes.

We have partnered with Valqari in building fully autonomous no-touch two-way medical delivery networks utilizing drones. With autonomous point-to-point delivery, we can create sterile transportation networks that eliminate the community spread risks of COVID, unlike traditional testing processes and logistics networks. This would be a perfect compliment to current telehealth initiatives, while also providing a chain of custody for controlled medicines.

Universal drone-ports allow for shelter, charging, servicing, distribution, and serve as the data collection hub for all aerial communication. These drone-port stations will be an eagle-nest perch, similar to the deck of an aircraft carrier, from which smart-drones take off, land, and transmit information. Drone-port platforms will be retrofitted to existing infrastructure along railway tracks and hydro lines, co-existing within abundant and affordable industrial centers.

These state-of-the-art drone-port smart-repositories load smart-drones with critical supply packages, testing kits, or medical parcels. When a doctor advises a person to receive testing, a drone would deliver their sample to their local drone-port station or their personal drone receptacle, which is fitted with proprietary sterilization methods to not contaminate the receptacle or subsequent parcel deliveries. A smart-repository uses a global positioning system to navigate the smart-drone to the landing pad. Upon arrival, the smart-drone signals a smart-repository, triggering the opening of the trapdoor that exposes the storage compartment. A protective pad transfers package cargo into the designated store compartment where it will be locked and secured.

We are are working with Valqari to build the entire delivery network, including: autonomous drones that meet all FAA requirements; receptacles that adhere to all US postal codes; packaging for sample safety in accordance with CDC hazmat transportation guidelines; software required for completely autonomous flight; software for deconfliction of the airspace; software for package routing; and data management systems in line with current HIPAA guidelines.

By connecting hospitals to their clinic network, then further to central community stations, and eventually to home based receptacles, we would create a fully autonomous no-touch network that connects the most at-risk rural communities to clinics and hospitals. This could operate 24/7/365 so people can get testing and treatment when needed, all at a much more affordable cost than a traditional logistics network. By delivering medicine, supplies and meals to quarantined patients, there would be significantly less need to stockpile, expose delivery drivers, or make frequent trips to the supermarket or pharmacy, greatly reducing the risk of community spread.

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