Skyports have today announced their partnership with the NHS in Scotland.
Drones will be transporting COVID-19 and other test samples, COVID-19 testing kits, medicines and PPE between Lorn and Islands Hospital in Oban, Mid-Argyll Community Hospital in Lochgilphead, Easdale Medical Practice in Clachan Seil and the Mull and Iona Community Hospital in Craignure.
Skyports have CAA authority to fly along predefined routes out of the line of sight of the pilot. Drones will instead be controlled from a control centre in Oban and communication with the drone will be through the 4G network and via satellite communications.
Skyports anticipate this will reduce journey time in some cases from 36 hours to 15 minutes.
This is a significant step forwards for the drones industry. Not only is it a fantastic example of how time savings can be achieved by using drones; it also will showcase how drones can be used for just-in-time supply deliveries.
There is also one further significant stride that might be made by using drones in this way: the public are extremely nervous of drones, perceiving them either as a threat or as spying device, but even those extremely sceptic of drones are likely to be in broad support of their use in the COVID drive. Perhaps this can help build the public's trust in drones so when the technology is extended on a wide scale to the logistics industry, the public will be more easily won over.