UK Space Agency Backs NHS Drone Delivery Project

October 17, 2020 Updated: October 17, 2020

The UK Space Agency on Saturday said they are backing a health care start-up in setting up a drone delivery system for the National Health Service (NHS).

The delivery project, called project dreadnought, is “a network of secure air corridors” allowing GPS navigated drones to deliver vital supplies such as “COVID-19 samples, test-kits, and PPE,” the government said in a statement.

The statement said the drone system will “avoid courier call-out waiting times, free-up NHS staff, reduce unnecessary physical contact, and minimise the risk of secondary transmission of the virus.”

NHS start-up Apian, which is leading the project, is installing “dronepad” infrastructure in hospitals, laboratories, and warehouses for drones to take-off from and land onto.

Nick Appleyard from the European Space Agency said space technology will allow health services to save more lives.

“Much space-enabled technology removes the need to move people, whether this is patients, healthcare practitioners, or couriers. Instead, we can use drones to move samples and equipment, or satellites to move information to reach even the most isolated communities at a speed that was impossible until now,” Appleyard said.

“Even when patients do need to attend hospital appointments, moving information using satellites enables them to do so in a cheaper and more environmentally friendly manner,” he added.

Christopher Law, co-founder of Apian said the drone company is one of the three new projects that the UK Space Agency is backing.