Forget food deliveries: MissionGo's drone carried a kidney across Nevada

The transportation logistics company carried out two successful flights in September.

Flavio Coelho/Moment/Getty Images

Late September brought good news for the Nevada Donor Network, an organ procurement organization (OPO), as the MissionGo company of transportation solutions was able to complete not one but two full test flights carrying human organ and tissue. This is groundbreaking news for OPOs as well as patients seeking transplants. The two flights demonstrated several key accomplishments.

For one, it means that drones can be viable carriers for organs, especially considering the fact that MissionGo's drone was able to cover 10 miles across the Nevada desert. Additionally, the arrival of the organ and tissue showed that the journey via drone did not affect the status of the package. The delivery speed and the ability to lighten on-ground transport is another huge bonus.


The president of MissionGo, Anthony Pucciarella, said in a press release:

These flights are an exciting step forward – the research conducted during last week’s test flights are another data point to illustrate that unmanned aircraft are a reliable mode of transportation for life-saving cargo, and that MissionGO’s UAS are safe for both the payload and people on the ground – even at greater distances. We are grateful to be testing our technology with our partners at the Nevada Donor Network and look forward to what we can achieve together with more research like this.

First food and medicine, now human tissue and organs — Prior to kidney transplants flying over the Nevada desert, companies like Amazon had already eyed the prospect of mainstreaming drone deliveries for food and other packages. Walmart also had its own plans to deliver free COVID-19 testing kits through drones while Zipline drones were delivering medical equipment like personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline healthcare workers. In Sweden, Everdrone announced its plans to send Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to those in need via drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) don't always enjoy a good reputation around the world — for understandable reasons. In parts of Central and South Asia, drones have been used in devastating warfare against locals, resulting in the deaths of men, women, and children. Here in the United States, drones have sparked heated conversations about surveillance and invasion of civilian privacy. With operations like MissionGo's kidney transplant, these UAVs could soften in the eyes of the average observer by becoming life-saving devices.