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AGS Airports leads consortium trialling medical supply drone delivery network


AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, is to lead a consortium developing what will be the UK’s first distribution network using drones to transport medicines, blood, organs and other supplies throughout Scotland.

The consortium, which brings together 14 organisations secured £1.5m from the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund to demonstrate how autonomous drones can enhance access to essential medical supplies in rural areas.

The Care & Equity Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland (CAELUS) project started in December and will involve live drone flight trials.

In addition to developing the ground infrastructure needed to recharge the drones and the systems to control them while flying, a key aspect of the project will be designing pathways to ensure the drones can safely share airspace with civil aviation.

The project will also ensure critical aspects such as public safety, security and noise levels are considered.

A digital blueprint of the drone delivery network will then be created with the potential to connect hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland.

The project is scheduled to run until Spring 2022.


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Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “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 CAELUS 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.”

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the NHS West of Scotland Innovation Hub will work alongside the consortium on the project.

Karen Bell, head of research and development for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said: “This is an opportunity to work with aviation colleagues to explore the innovative use of drone technology to address some of the potential challenges facing daily delivery of NHS services, not only within NHS Ayrshire & Arran but across the West of Scotland.”

The CAELUS consortium comprises:

  • AGS Airports
  • ANRA Technologies UK
  • Atkins
  • Avy – Drones for Good
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • Dronamics
  • DGP Intelsius
  • Leonardo MW
  • NATS
  • Schneider Electric UK
  • The Drone Office
  • Trax International
  • uAvionix
  • University of Strathclyde



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