Scotland begins health service drone delivery service trials in Angus

A partnership between Angus Council and Crown Estate Scotland is behind eight weeks of flight trials to demonstrate a range of drone use cases, including the delivery of medical equipment for NHS Tayside and survey operations for Angus Council, Scotland. The new on-demand drone collection and delivery service is being trialed by Scotland’s first drone port, Mercury Drone Ports and NHS Tayside.

The new Beyond Visual Line of Sight trials (BVLOS) are designed to transport medical equipment, samples and medicine via an unmanned aircraft to and from multiple healthcare facilities between Angus and Dundee. The drone delivery service allows samples to be collected from local medical practices for analysis at the pathology laboratory at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee quicker and more reliably than current transport alternatives. The drone flights are operated by Skyports Drone Services, a UK based company which has conducted multiple drone delivery projects across Scotland, including the country’s first medical drone delivery trials in 2019.

Receiving funding from the UK Government’s GBP26.5 million Angus Fund, as part of the Tay Cities Region Deal, Mercury Drone Ports is a public-private partnership between Angus Council and DTLX, supported by a number of local and national businesses.

Mercury Drone Ports is based within the ZeroFour Hub, a partnership between Angus Council and Crown Estate Scotland, which currently has planning permission in principle for a mixed-use business park. The new hub along with the drone port, forms part of Angus Council’s long-term plans to drive sustainable development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and create renewable solutions for transportation and energy across Angus and the wider Tay Cities region.

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: “It’s fantastic to see the drone trials starting, taking us a step closer to using this quick and eco-friendly way of connecting rural patients to essential health services like medicine and sample deliveries. The UK Government is spending more than GBP2 billion levelling up communities across Scotland, and investing GBP26.5million in projects in Angus. The start of today’s trials show just how important that investment is, with the Mercury Drone Port pioneering technology while reducing carbon emissions and bringing in new jobs and investment.”

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