Matador Consortium, pioneering use of drones for medical transport, sets up shop at Reese Technology Center

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:22 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Matador Uncrewed Aerial System Consortium is seeking investors as it plans to set up shop at the Reese Technology Center, working to provide drone technology and transportation in the healthcare industry and beyond.

“Those are...the next steps: to finalize our funding and resource model from all the conversations we’ve had to this point, to secure the operation of this firehouse and then to continue to do demonstrations to build the awareness and demonstrate the value of this project to a broader community,” Ty Harmon said.

Harmon is the CEO of 2THEDGE, LLC which, along with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, founded the Matador Consortium. Over the past week it has demonstrated various uses of drone technology in transporting medical supplies for healthcare, delivering food to those in need and conducting inspections of wind turbines and railways.

“I’m stunned at how far we’ve come and learning a lot about the opportunities,” Dr. Mike Ragain, CMO of UMC Health System, said. “I think we’re at the cusp of really opening the door for lots of movement along these routes, using this technology of a drone or an unmanned vehicle.”

Transportation simulations have involved mock blood samples as well as organs for transplantation. Such deliveries now involve the use of commercial flights or expensive private charters. Organ procurement organizations believe the use of drones can open up more opportunities for matches and lives saved.

“What we are trying to do is find ways to increase the reliability of the transportation of organs, also increase the speed at which we can move organs from the site of where the organ donor is to where the transplant is going to happen,” Kevin Myer, President/CEO of LifeGift, said.

Harmon told KCBD those organ procurement companies have been early adopters of UAV use and he expects that going forward. The Consortium has already received a commitment from a client using an optionally piloted aircraft to use its new home, the firehouse, at Reese Technology Center.

“Even with minor renovations here, we can still run drone missions based on that initial investment to begin slowly, just starting to fly lab missions and do additional STEM activities, and then build on that foundation for other communities in the area moving forward,” Harmon said.