Next rural medical drones test flights begin

DRONES could soon be delivering medicines, blood, and test results to rural and island communities throughout Scotland as the next phase of a pilot project takes flight.

The “Care & Equity Healthcare Logistics Unmanned Aircraft System Scotland” project – or “Caelus” for short – has secured £10.1 million of funding from UK Research & Innovation, the UK Government agency known previously as the Technology Strategy Board.

Test flights took place in 2020 and last year, with more trials now getting underway.

Fiona Smith – head of aerodrome strategy at Aberdeen, Glasgow & Southampton (AGS) Airports Group and the Caelus project director – said: “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.

“As well as being able to undertake live flights, we can begin to deploy the physical infrastructure needed to support the drones across Scotland.

“This will involve building prototype landing bases as well as digital and communication infrastructure.

“We will also work with local communities to ensure they understand why and how the drones will be used.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s news pages.

Plus, don’t miss the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.