The Design of Dr.One

Several use case scenarios on the application of the Dr.One concept in real life are described in detail, a prototype of the Dr.One drone has been developed, a concept for the smooth integration of Dr.One into community based health care supply chain systems has been established, a sustainable business case has been determined for a value chain of Strategic Business Units, set up according to rules for the use of Air Space, and a highly constructive relationship with the Regulatory Authority has been put in place.
short description of the current status of Dr.One

Use Case Scenarios

Based on discussions with the Ghana Health Service, the UNFPA and other experts on African health systems, five use case scenarios have been developed for Dr.One:
  • Scenario 1: Emergency medicine for a mother after giving birth
  • Scenario 2: Out of stock delivery of medicaments/contraceptives
  • Scenario 3: Additional delivery during a vaccination campaign
  • Scenario 4: Emergency treatment of severe malaria in children
  • Scenario 5: Antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women with HIV
The use case scenarios are set up such that they contain information on both the current and the expected future practice. The scenarios have been extensively verified with various stakeholders and domain experts. The use case scenarios are assumed to be representative in general for remote areas in nations with Community Based Health Care systems.
The Dr.One Use Case Scenarios provide a solid basis for many aspects of Dr.One, e.g. for research on economical, medical, technical and social feasibility.
about the well developed Use Case Scenarios of Dr.One


At the start of the Dr.One Proof of Concept (PoC) phase, numerous implicit requirements have provided a solid foundation for the Dr.One Concept. During the PoC these requirements have further evolved. The relevant business- and political requirements, requirements on usability and on the interaction with the operational environment, and operational requirements for both the Dr.One systems and the production of Dr.One systems have been identified. Some of the resulting overall requirements for Dr.One have been included directly below:

Safe and easy to use

Dr.One shall be safe to use.
It shall be possible to use Dr.One with only minimal training.
Interfacing with Dr.One shall be possible by existing means such as mobile phones

Legal to use

Dr.One shall operate within the rules and regulations as set forth by the civil aviation authorities and other national and regional authorities.
Special attention shall be addressed to Automated Flight and Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (B-VLOS) operations.


The costs for a Dr.One drone shall not exceed those of a decent motor bike.
The Dr.One drone should be able to carry up to 2 kg.
The Dr.One drone should be able to fly distances up to 100 km.
The Dr.One drone should have a minimal number of moving parts
The Dr.One drone shall take-off and land vertically.
It should be possible to produce the Dr.One drones locally.
Dr.One drone operations shall not require (complex) infrastructure at the sites at which it operates.

Politically compelling

Allthough Dr.One should focus on improving important health indicators, e.g. by contributing to a reduction of maternal deaths, it shall also address other politically compelling areas such as job creation.

The Dr.One UAV

Dr.One is a scalable design of low cost components, and aims to transport up to 2kg over a distance of up to 100 km. The on-board electronics are based on commercially off the shelf and open source products, and a low-cost reliable data link is used for controlling the Dr.One drone.
Four Dr.One prototypes have been designed, implemented, and flight tested in an iterative evolutionary process during the Proof of Concept (PoC). Results of flight tests with the consecutive prototypes have been used to improve the system design. The first steps towards the development of a robust and reliable autopilot, adjusted to the specific configuration and characteristics of the Dr.One design, have been made. An initial ground control solution for take-off, landing, and flight monitoring has been established. Airworthiness checks have been performed to address safety and airworthiness concerns.
The transition from hover to horizontal flight for the Dr.One small UAS has been demonstrated with the fourth Dr.One PoC prototype. Further experimental flights are required to finalize the autopilot development. The data collected during these flights will be used to improve the Dr.One aerodynamic model, to generate an improved autopilot and to facilitate the removal of the elevons and associated actuators and electronic circuitry, to further reduce the number of moving parts on the system.
Additional improvements of the system design are required to improve robustness and enable low-cost production of the Dr.One system. This includes replacement of the welded aluminum frame with a frame of glued carbon components. The integration of solar panels in the body and wings is also part of the Dr.One roadmap.

Concept of Operations

The preliminary Dr.One Concept of Operations (abbreviated ConOps) provides a detailed description of the Dr.One concept within the Community Based Health Care System of Ghana. It describes the characteristics of the Dr.One concept from the viewpoint of the groups of people who will use and work with the system. The preliminary ConOps is used to communicate the quantitative and qualitative system characteristics to all stakeholders.
The ConOps contains a description of the current medical supply chain system, an analysis of Dr.One summarizing the advantages and disadvantages or limitations, and alternatives and trade-offs. Amongst others, the Concept for Dr.One operations is described into detail, including the Strategic Business Units involved in Dr.One, the technical policies and constraints, the climatological challenges Dr.One faces and the context of the Ghana Health Services in which Dr.One is intended to operate.
The major components of Dr.One and their interactions are described, together with the interfaces to external systems. An illustrated example of how the concept will be operated in daily life is provided. The technical policies and constraints and the challenges that Dr.One faces are described.

Dr.One Flight test preparations at the RPAS Test Center of the Netherlands Aerospace Center NLR