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British drone delivery network takes flight in testing round

Network provider O2 is working with drone company Skyfarer to get delivery drones into the air to deliver COVID-19 supplies and blood samples. The two are also working on creating the necessary infrastructure to fly the drones safely.

The trial’s goal is to see if the delivery drones will be able to speed up patient response and sample turnaround times while also transporting blood transfusions in a shorter amount of time.

The two companies already tested the technology last year during a trial to deliver PPE and COVID-19 test kits to the remote Argyll and Bute islands. This is the first time the tests have been brought to the mainland United Kingdom.

If the trials go to plan and are passed off by the related agencies, they will allow for same-day delivery across much of the UK without needing an operator to be flying the drones.

Elliot Parnham, founder and CEO at Skyfarer, shared:

“Our future flight challenge project backed by UKRI will bring medical drone delivery to the UK and make a lasting difference to the capabilities of logistics within a nation. Skyfarer will set up the UK’s first medical drone delivery network with lifesaving potential.”

Since the trials have been given the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Authority, the trials can begin with short-range trials conducted by the consortium, including Cranfield University, Phoenix Wings, and Altitude Angel. The trials are expected to take place after Easter and continue until the end of summer.

Derek McManus, COO at O2, added:

“This technology not only has the power to support the healthcare system and save lives, but also reduce emissions usually released by traditional medical delivery transport, helping to build a greener future for Britain.”

Check out some of our other coverage on the drone delivery world and the great things companies are doing in the space.

Photo: Skyfarer

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Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.