The firm behind Aberdeen International Airport has announced it will launch the UK’s first medical delivery drone network.
AGS Airports, which owns and manages Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said today it will develop and trial what will be the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland.
It has secured £1.5 million from the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund in order to show how the technology can enhance the delivery of medical supplies – especially to remote rural locations in Scotland.
An AGS led consortium brings together 14 organisations on the project – including the University of Strathclyde, and leading air traffic control provider NATS, and will run until spring 2022.
Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “This project has the potential to completely revolutionise the way in which healthcare services are delivered in Scotland.
“Not only does drone technology have the ability to speed-up the delivery of critical medical supplies, it could reduce waiting times for test results and, more importantly, help provide equity of care between urban and remote rural communities.
“Although our focus is on healthcare, the project could pave the way for the deployment of drone-enabled logistics in other sectors and has the potential to change the way airspace is used by manned and unmanned vehicles.
“It also has clear environmental benefits as it will play a key role in reducing the carbon emissions generated by existing, road-based distribution networks within Scotland.”
Scottish economy secretary Fiona Hyslop added: “This innovative project will help position Scotland at the forefront of drone technologies to deliver essential healthcare supplies to people more quickly, especially those living remote locations.
“It also demonstrates, once again, that when businesses, universities and public sector work together they can deliver for Scotland and outperform the competition, attracting welcome funding at this challenging time.”