Skyports collaborates with Vodafone and Deloitte on space-enabled drone deliveries for NHS in Scotland in COVID-19 response funding initiative – Drones Information

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London, United Kingdom (UK), Friday 10th July 2020 – Drone delivery service provider Skyports has partnered with technology communications company Vodafone and digital consultants Deloitte to use UAVs to deliver medical supplies and samples for the NHS in Scotland. The live flights will take place later this year and will use mobile connectivity and space-based technology.

The Skyports-led project was selected to find space-based technologies and services that support the NHS’s response to coronavirus and can stop the spread of the disease through a joint funding initiative between the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA ).

In the coming months, Skyports will deliver pathology samples, medication, essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 test kits between hospitals and to and from doctors’ offices in Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland.

Thanks to Skyports technology, pickups, which currently take up to 48 hours to travel between health care locations, require only 30 minutes and a much higher frequency.

NHS employees can use the web customer interface developed by Deloitte to make on-demand and planned inquiries about the use of Skyports drones.

The drones are remotely controlled from the Skyports Operations Center in Argyll and Bute and automatically fly on predefined routes. Communication between the drone and the ground control station (GCS) takes place via the 4G network and satellite communication from Vodafone as well as earth observation data to ensure that connectivity coverage is guaranteed at all times for security reasons.

By the end of the project, Skyports would like to integrate its operations into the local NHS supply chain, build its route network, and create a drone start-up service that can be scaled for permanent operation.

Skyports completed a drone test in May to fly essential medical cargo between two hospitals in the Scottish highlands and to help the NHS and the government fight COVID-19. Skyports also works with the Argyll and Bute HSCP as part of its CAA Regulatory Sandbox investment.

Duncan Walker, Chief Executive Officer at Skyports, said: “By using drone deliveries within supply chains, significant time and cost savings can be achieved. This project is a natural evolution of our recent trials with the NHS in Scotland as we scale and evolve our operations and support a broader network of hospitals and medical practices that continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want more healthcare facilities to benefit from our service in the long term, and the experience of this important initiative will bring us one step closer to ongoing operations that the entire NHS could benefit from soon.”

Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, said: “The use of drones that are connected to the mobile network and can be safely and safely flown out of sight offers enormous advantages. This is an excellent example of how the use of networked drones can radically change the way we work and really change people’s lives. “

Scott Campbell, partner and director of Deloitte Ventures, said: “Drones have the potential to revolutionize the delivery of urgent goods and services to remote locations. Difficult to reach communities in Argyll and Bute will benefit from drones as an alternative to land or sea transportation. This project is a strong example of the value that drones could bring to communities and society in the coming years if companies work together to develop the technology. “

Demand for drone delivery

Worldwide, drones are already being used to deliver products faster, cheaper and more efficiently than land transport alternatives, especially in cities that are heavily congested and in rural areas that are difficult to reach. Drone deliveries can cut costs, improve frequency and speed of transportation, optimize supply chains, and improve connectivity to underserved areas.

The drone package delivery market is expected to be worth £ 21bn ($ 27.4bn) by 2030[1] Increasing changes for faster deliveries, changes to the regulations to enable drone deliveries and the spread of inexpensive drones with low payload are fueling the growth of the drone logistics market.

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