Skyfarer Ltd and partner Medical Logistics UK have announced their collaborative Medical Drone Delivery Beyond Visual Line of Sight trial commencing this week, in a secured CAA-approved airspace called “The Medical Logistics UK Corridor”.
Due to growing pressures on the healthcare system, there is an ever-expanding need for hospitals to receive vital time-sensitive medical supplies.
As a result of the significant congestion on our roads and heavy infrastructure, Skyfarer believe that these needs are not currently being met in an efficient manner.
Project Manager for Skyfarer, Georgia Hanrahan said “There are no potholes in the sky, nor is there as much congestion, and without the need for heavy infrastructure to land, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can add to the fleet of logistical transfers and provide a faster, more sustainably friendly and cheaper solution.”
Connecting 32km of airspace between the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Trust’s hospitals in Coventry and Rugby, The Medical Logistics UK corridor will be in place for a three-month period from October until December 2022, to conduct a record-breaking number of routine and ad hoc medical drone deliveries.
Founded in 2017 by Elliot Parnham, a Aerospace & Engineering graduate from Coventry University, Skyfarer is a Coventry-based start-up that has set out to use drones for good in society, with the first of their projects being Medical Drone Delivery.
Parnham said “I started Skyfarer back in 2017 and it was all on that message of trying to provide societal change and that’s through this new high value technology of UAVs, or drones, being used in positive use cases like medical delivery.”
AN INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP
This first-of-its-kind trial is sponsored and made possible by London-based Medical Couriers, Medical Logistics UK.
Commenting on the new partnership, Managing Director at Medical Logistics, Alex Landowski said “I welcome our new partnership as an opportunity to revolutionise the UK medical supply chain. With our emission-free solution, this UK first trial over land will conduct a record-breaking number of routine and ad-hoc medical deliveries.”
London-based Medical Logistics is a leading provider of time-sensitive medical deliveries and personalised on-demand medical tests. Offering a national coverage, a competitive pricing structure and the highest standards in the market (CQC registered and UKAS accredited), Medical Logistics is planning to take medical deliveries to the next level.
With a keen interest in technology, emission-free solutions and net zero targets, drones were an obvious need to the addition of the 90% electric fleet of medical vehicles (100% by the end of 2023).
Medical Logistics’ goal is to serve its clients and the public by providing the highest standards with an introduction of real innovation and sustainability not seen in medical transport and private healthcare.
This trial also kicks off the first leg of the Future Flight Phase 3 project’s corridor called “Skyway”, led by partners and UTM industry leaders Altitude Angel.
Skyway is a drone superhighway connecting 265km of the UK by the sky, for operators like Skyfarer to fly BVLOS safely and routinely. Skyfarer is proud to be the lead operator of this project as the Medical Logistics UK corridor is the first stage of the drone superhighway and creates a massive first step in the completion of the two-year project.
This trial is the first of its kind as it is over land, between two NHS Trust hospitals, in a Hub-Centric Network and operating 24 hours, meaning that all operations are controlled from one central location and flown Beyond Visual Line of Sight.
Flights will be conducted in all weather conditions throughout the remainder of the year as well as at varying times of day so that the Flight Operations team can work with the Trust to determine how this technology can be permanently integrated going forward. The consortia want to ensure that it is accessible to each department whenever it is required.
A series of routine and ad-hoc emergency flights will also be conducted to determine the reliability of the Skyfarer service and futureproof the NHS integration.
TO FIND OUT MORE
This trial would not be possible without consortium partners Phoenix Wings, Altitude Angel, UHCW NHS Trust, Everyware, BT and Airbox Systems.
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