New player enters the medical drone game
Mirko Cesena can personally testify that he has had fun flying racing drones in championship drone racing all over the world, and indeed he had with small manned aircraft too.
But the Italian native always thought there was more to life and to drone technology that just fun and games.
“All my life, I have wanted to be the best pilot in the world,” Cesena said recently.
“And I achieved this goal by focussing on myself and winning the world championship of Ultimate XXtreme Acrobatic Helicopters – three times.”
Indeed, Mirko is a multi-discipline winner in this type of extreme sports, having also picked up winner’s gongs for the 3D Cup France in 2014, the Heli Masters Nordlingen (when he also won the worldwide version in the same year), the Rotor Live, the 3DX Italy; all in 2013, the SAB Trophy and the Italian F3N Championship in 2012.
Besides, Mirko was the remote pilot on the controls when the first ever racing drone to take to the skies with a person in it took flight in Vrsar, Croatia in 2020.
“But after thirteen years, I stopped to think; how can I be the best pilot in the world if I’m not using my incredible skills to help people and the world itself?”
This question led to Mirko and his Swiss friend, Herbert Weirather – alongside whom he had flown racing drones for years – founding a start-up company called Jedsy around 2018, with then developed a prototype medical drone to be used in remote areas cut off from reliable means of alternative transportation, or where timely delivery was paramount.
And how relieved and happy the staff at the start-up should feel now to have finally found a home in Malawi to put their innovative knowledge to real-life tests and good use, after years spent knocking on doors and having them shut in their faces.
Malawi is not stranger to medical drones; it has already opened its doors to Wingcopter and Swoop Aero, besides boasting of one of the largest drone corridors in the world, where start-ups can test the capabilities of their creations with no inhibitions. Opening its welcoming arms to one more start-up surely will not hurt.
You could say Jedsy might not have found a more perfect home if they tried.
“All my effort and passion went into this project which is finally fully revealed (as Jedsy Medical Drone Mission in Malawi),” says Mirko. “I’ve been working really hard and I believe that this is something very important for me. Around 3 years ago I decided to Co-Found a Company called Jedsy, together with Herbert Weirather, which aims to one simple goal – saving people’s life with the use of drones/gliders.
I’m proud to present our project in Malawi, Africa.”
Herbert chips in; “What would you say to a nurse, when she says the ambulance can’t come and she can’t help your kid anymore? We want to sustainably change that with Jedsy.
“Our big thanks go to the whole Jedsy team for making this possible.
“We started in Malawi with the first test flights for hospitals. We went there with the Mark 12 and 13 of our drones, which are the current versions of our demonstrator drones.”
Headquartered in St Gallen, Switzerland, Jedsy’s autonomous gliders not very different from the ones flying across the Malawian skies from their homes bases at Swoop Aero or Wingcopter: they are eVTOL with both fixed wings (wingspan is 2.4 metres) and rotor blades that run on battery power and can fly – “with a bird-like silence” – round trips of 200 kilometres while carrying loads of 2.3 kilograms.
Besides, they can do the classic parachute drop of packages that has made Zipline famous worldwide – but they’d rather do it differently if they always had their way.
For Jedsy have a unique way of delivering packages to a hospital window or balcony, which a recipient can collect without having to leave the building.
The Jedsy drone first flies via GPS to an accuracy of a few centimetres to the respective window balcony, where it will then dock onto a pre-assembled linkage and is fixed into place with strong Velcro tape. A recipient will then pick their package up and leave the drone to be off and on its way.
At take-off, a set of rollers will push the drone away from the Velcro belt.
“Strangers might be tempted to pick up the package,” Herbert Weirather says in response to why they chose to deliver almost indoor.
“Or it gets wet in the rain.
“In my opinion, handing over the package at the window or balcony is crucial for the acceptance of delivery drones. We have filed several patents to perfect our innovation, which also applies to our technology of allowing the drone to land precisely on balconies and windows.”
Our hearty welcome to the medical drone space to you Jedsy; and we are delighted to know that you are working with local professionals in Malawi as a way of sharing your knowledge and promoting the growth of the drone industry in Malawi.
“We are taking one step at a time,” says Herbert, who took up aeronautics after being forced to cut a bussing tennis career short for health reasons.
“Now it’s time to gain experience.”