Scotland to start drone trials in March
Scotland’s Mercury Drone Ports programme, which aims to develop the drone industry in Angus, will begin medical logistics trials in partnership with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) from next month.
The program, which is a partnership between drone technology start-up DTLX and Angus Council, will operate the trials from its drone port in the town of Montrose.
The operator will transport medical equipment and samples to and from several health facilities between Angus and the city of Dundee, to help with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to the Scotsman newspaper, Angus council chief adviser David Fairweather said: ‘This level of improvement could potentially allow life-saving treatment to start sooner by reducing test times, speeding up diagnoses for patients, all at a reduced cost to the NHS by reducing reliance on the expensive taxi transport that currently exists.
“As the significant demands for Covid-19 testing continue, we are delighted to be leading the way in innovative technologies to increase connectivity with our rural facilities, at a time when the NHS needs greater support. “
The program could offer significant improvements to connectivity in Scotland
Drone logistics technology could give a significant boost to connectivity across Scotland – a country known for its rugged terrain and sparsely populated northern regions.
The program is receiving funding under the UK government’s £26.5 million Angus Fund, as part of the Tay Cities Regional Deal. It is hoped the scheme will encourage innovation in the city and boost jobs in Scotland’s tech sector.
“Drones have huge potential in Scotland, from connecting health services to remote communities, to helping maintain renewable energy installations, to helping with Scottish aquaculture and monitoring environment,” said UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart.
Medical logistics drone projects have become more common in recent years as the technology is tested in remote parts of the world, including the United States, Peru, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.