U.K. tests drones to deliver emergency medical supplies to remote islands

Leon Solent, UK, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. This "Wingracers ULTRA" drone is parked on the runway of Solent Airport. The UK is testing a car-sized drone to deliver medical supplies to hospitals faster and help ease the pressure on the UK health system during the coronavirus crisis.

(AP Photo/James Brooks)

Stubington, United Kingdom (Associated Press)-During the novel coronavirus crisis, the United Kingdom is testing a car-sized drone to deliver medical supplies to hospitals faster and help ease the pressure on the national health system.

The first such delivery was completed on Saturday, when a large fixed-wing drone flew into the sky from an airport on the south coast of England. Ten minutes later, it landed at an airport on the Isle of Wight, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away, and the pathology samples loaded were then taken to the local hospital.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pilot project has accelerated. As the authorities tried to isolate people to limit infection, many travel and transportation vehicles around the world were effectively closed. The department responsible for the drone project said that air transportation can reduce the cost and transportation time of important medical supplies, especially during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These drugs are expected to be used only in a few cases that are particularly difficult to reach the hospital.

James Scanlan, a professor of aerospace design at the University of Southampton, said: "The logistics links in many parts of the UK are very weak, and this aircraft is a solution." Scanlan is working with Cooperation on this project. "It carries a very heavy load, and we are actually an island country-we have many small communities where such things can connect people cheaply and effectively."

For example, on the Isle of Wight, medical supplies, including important items such as blood and drugs, are currently transported by passenger or cargo ferry, which takes about an hour, or transported by traditional manned aircraft, which is expensive. In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the number of crossings has been reduced recently. "This is a step forward, in fact, it provides a faster delivery speed," said Conrad Haig from Solent Transportation, the project is running. "There are some (national health) services that need to be provided in a very timely manner, some of which will be promoted in a better way."

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