The CAELUS project in Scotland has received £10.1m for drone delivery of medical supplies using a long range aircraft from Dronamics.
The project is led by the operator of Glasgow and Aberdeen airports with funding from the Future Flight Challenge programme to develop and trial the UK’s first national distribution network using drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs, and other medical supplies to remote communities across Scotland.
The consortium has 16 partners including Dronamics, which has developed the Black Swan cargo drone, that is capable of carrying up to 350kg at a range of up to 2,500km. The flight trials are scheduled to be completed by 2024. This long range capability is key for communities on the more remote islands of Scotland.
“The CAELUS project is set to revolutionize the way in which healthcare services are delivered in Scotland. A drone network can ensure critical medical supplies can be delivered more efficiently, it can reduce waiting times for test results and, more importantly, it can provide equity of care between urban and remote rural communities,” said Fiona Smith, AGS Airports Group Head of Aerodrome Strategy and CAELUS Project Director.
Svilen Rangelov, CEO and Co-founder of Dronamics, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for us to kick-off operations in the UK by leveraging our authorization experience in the EU with EASA. The flight trials for NHS Scotland would also validate our ongoing product development towards delivering medical goods. We have seen that our solution could be vital for remote communities in Scotland, drastically decreasing the transit time for medical supplies.”
“This second tranche of funding will allow the CAELUS project to move to the next exciting stage with flight trials of the drones and testing of the critical systems we have designed that will ensure the safe operation of what will be a revolutionary development for aviation in the UK and for NHS Scotland,” said Dr Marco Fossati, of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence at the University of Strathclyde.
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