In October 2022, we partnered with Skyfarer and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust to perform a first-of-its-kind Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone trial in the UK. The trial was completed in a secure CAA-approved airspace called "The Medical Logistics UK Corridor".
At Medical Logistics, we specialise in time-sensitive, critical medical deliveries through our electric fleet of vehicles in London and the surrounding areas, offering the highest standards in the market. Our goal is to serve our clients and the public by providing the highest standards with an introduction of real innovation and sustainability - so Drones are a natural path forward and add a further layer to our business.
Our partner in this Trial - Skyfarer - was founded in 2017 by Elliot Parnham, an Aerospace and Engineering graduate from Coventry University, with the aim to use drones for good in society. Elliot saw the barriers and problems within the existing UK drone logistics regulations, and the company have been transforming the industry to integrate more drones into much-needed fields, such as medical transport.
This trial was a first-of-its-kind over-land operation over 3 months at the end of 2022, and connected two NHS Trust hospitals in Coventry and Rugby within 32km of airspace. The trial was completed around the clock and performed a record-breaking number of routine, adhoc and emergency medical drone deliveries.
The long-term aim of the trial was to help ease the growing pressures on the healthcare system, where there is an ever-expanding need for hospitals to receive and transport time-sensitive medical supplies and samples. As a result of significant congestion on UK roads and heavy infrastructure, this is becoming increasingly difficult - so the use of Drones offers an exciting and revolutionary solution!
Flights were conducted in all weather conditions as well as at varying times of day so that the Flight Operations team could work with the NHS to determine how this technology could be permanently implemented going forward.
The medical delivery trial was completed from Skyfarer's hub in the region, which was used as a space to maintain the drones, operate the flights, and as a warehouse for the picking and packing of deliveries.
The stats in December 2022 stood at:
✈️ Over 24 hours worth of flights completed
✈️ Over 1,889km flown
✈️ 220km was flown by a drone in a single day(!) - without any faults or failures to report.
The trial was an outstanding success - and proved that drone technology can save lives, time and the environment, cutting comparable road emissions by over 90%.
We’re so proud to have been involved in this trial and we’re looking forward to being involved in many more similar projects in the coming years!