Student teams consulted Orion on the implementation of drone delivery for pharmaceutical products

The project was a collaboration between ITP and Orion which resulted in Finland's first pharmaceutical drone delivery flight.
Orion drone delivery

As part of their summer minor studies in the Information Technology Program (ITP) at the Aalto University School of Business, two student teams examined the potential feasibility and usability of drone delivery technology in the Finnish pharmaceutical space for Orion. The international and multidisciplinary teams consisted of Christopher Kannaday, Laura Lampinen, Tuomas Puhakka, Soumadipta Pyne, Nuutti Sten, Max Westerholm, Maria Sorsimo and Anssi Savilampi.

The research initiative was tasked with determining how the technical, legal and customer experience elements of drone delivery would impact the prototyping of pharmaceutical deliveries via unmanned aerial vehicle. The teams delivered a report, in which they outlined the current status, future projections and recommended actions for the successful and user-centric implementation of pharmaceutical deliveries via drones over the course of the next five years.

The student teams studied during the summer in the Information and Service Business (ISB) and Service and Experience Design (SED) specialisation tracks in ITP. As part of their ITP studies, the students completed three courses taught by visiting professors, as well as working on the ITP business project.

The three-month long collaboration resulted in Finland's first pharmaceutical drone delivery flight. This flight was conducted on 16th of September in Lauttasaari, Helsinki and the drone delivered a selection of over-the-counter medications from Lauttis Pharmacy to the Lauttasaari Senior Center, where the package was received by the medical staff. 

According to Sammeli Liikkanen, Chief Digital Officer at Orion, they are very satisfied with the project, especially with the professional and comprehensive outcome. 

“Orion gave our students a very exciting challenge to work on. Drone deliveries are a very new area of business solutions and previous examples do not exist in Finland. Therefore the student teams had to start their research from scratch in the Finnish context. I believe that the research output from the student teams will affect the way Orion sees this business area in the future,” summarises Laura Sivula, Program Director of ITP.

Flying drone

The multidisciplinary student teams did an excellent job on the projects and learned a lot from working with a real-life client

Laura Sivula, ITP Program Director

The team found the project challenging and unique because they had to become familiar with the commercialization of technology, service design and legislation. Nuutti Sten, Complex Systems student at Aalto University says: “Now we are living in a period of transition, but in a few years, this mode of transport will be a necessity.” 

Christopher Kannaday, International Market Development student at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business, says that executing this project for Orion was an extraordinarily rewarding experience. 

“I strongly believe that my experiences in the ITP this past summer will encourage a pursuit of Information Technology consulting in which I will likely engage in agile-method project operations requiring cooperation with a diverse group of co-workers. I believe that this project exposure combined with the valuable course instruction has prepared me for my future career goals,” Christopher adds. 

Working with different companies and organisations has been in the core of teaching and learning at ITP since 1995. Next year celebrates 25 years of co-learning together with companies and society for ITP.

Information Technology Program (ITP) is a 24 ECTS minor study module taught at Aalto University School of Business during the summer period. Participating students have three months to develop solution concepts to challenges faced by businesses and organisations in different sectors. The program is one of Aalto’s spearhead programs in challenge-based learning. More information from Program Director Laura Sivula ([email protected]).

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