RigiTech drone with integrated payload transport box.

The International Testing Agency (ITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rigi Technologies S.A. (RigiTech), a drone technology startup from Switzerland. RigiTech is developing aerial logistics for faster, easier and eco-friendly deliveries. The objective of the project is to explore potential use cases and feasibility within the anti-doping system.

RigiTech drones are enabling a fully integrated inter-city drone delivery solution to transport blood samples between collection points and laboratories. This technology has been so far implemented in public healthcare in urban, high-traffic settings and the humanitarian sector when dealing with inaccessible rural regions.

The objective of the collaboration is to explore how to make drone delivery solutions a feasible secure and value-adding concept within the doping control chain, especially in the field of blood sample delivery. Together, the ITA and RigiTech will assess various factors that will determine whether drone deliveries for doping control purposes are technically and legally feasible. A special focus will be given to the use of drones during major sports events where blood samples have to be transported from sports venues to laboratories regularly and swiftly. Safety and security factors, sample integrity and the possibility of the reduction of the anti-doping carbon footprint due to the use of drones will be investigated in a second phase of the evaluation, should a clear value proposition and concrete use cases emerge.

Benjamin Cohen, ITA Director General, states that “the ITA is very pleased to explore the possibilities of introducing drone technology to anti-doping and to collaborate with RigiTech, a pioneering startup in aerial logistics. The use of drones is already being used for healthcare purposes and has proved successful in transporting organs and blood swiftly and securely in high-density urban or remote areas. It could therefore potentially improve significantly the logistics of sample transportation during major sporting events. This may allow the samples’ chain of custody to be more secured, faster, and more sustainable. This joint feasibility study is an important first step to further innovate our activities, which is key in the efforts to keep sport clean. Should the exploratory phase be successful, we will then reach out to the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure that this is fully in line with the requirements of the international standards.”

“For drone delivery to become a value-adding reality within the doping control sample logistics, we need a strong engagement from the anti-doping community and therefore we are very excited to have ITA as a strategic partner. The aim of this partnership is to combine ITA’s 360-degree anti-doping knowledge and global network with RigiTech’s experience in drone-based logistics to explore the challenges and limitations of current logistics workflows and to find drone solutions that will offer new opportunities for the anti-doping community.”, says David Rovira, RigiTech Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer.