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Two industrial and systems engineering faculty members have teamed up with Toyota Material Handling North America, or TMHNA, to look into ways to help address the lack of rural health access in Alabama and beyond. The project, titled “Real-Time Rural Medicine Handling and Transport Using a Coordinated Fleet of Trucks and Drones,” explores using drones as “flying pharmacies” to transport medicines, samples and medical supplies to rural patients.

“We have been working on drone logistics for parcel delivery for a while. However, most research in that area focuses on urban environments,” said Daniel Silva, assistant professor. “We were inspired by news stories about the difficulties that Alabamians face getting to a doctor or pharmacy in rural areas to try to use our research to help address this issue.”

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