I’ve had the pleasure and good fortune of collaborating with and learning from Oriol Lopez since 2015. Oriol is an passionated engineer specialized in the design and application of humanitarian robotics. He spent the past 3 years based in Japan as an R&D specialist for Doctors Without Borders (MSF). During this time, he was in charge of implementing a drone network to transport medical items in remote areas. This explains why he worked directly with WeRobotics on our cargo drone field tests in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and most recently in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. During these projects, Oriol designed, built, operated and tested different cargo drones including both fixed-wing and hybrid drones able to cover a distance of more than 120km.
Oriol first began his career with MSF back in 2009 when he served as a field logistician. He has completed technical and logistics projects in more than 20 countries since then. Between his field missions for MSF, Oriol honed his skills designing, programming, building and testing robots and drones. He has also worked on designing 3D printed prosthetics, and implemented renewable energy and shelter solutions for displaced populations. It is rather rare to find an engineer with such extensive field experience; an engineer who really understands the opportunities and very real challenges of using emerging technologies in humanitarian contexts, not to mention an engineer who is culturally sensitive and works so well with local communities.
My very first conversations with Oriol back in 2015 focused on finding and designing the most practical and most sustainable operational cargo drone solutions for humanitarian applications in remote areas. Oriol is joining WeRobotics to help find, improve and apply these appropriate solutions, whether they be for the delivery of essential medicines, patient samples or sterilized mosquitoes to combat Zika and other disease vectors. I’m really excited to formally welcome Oriol to the WeRobotics team. With 8 years of experience working with MSF, Oriol also brings a strong understanding of public health to our team. He will continue to consult for MSF on the side while at WeRobotics, which we’re also excited about.