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Vodafone UK Trial 4G Drones to Deliver NHS Supplies and Samples

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 (6:00 am) - Score 1,224
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Mobile operator Vodafone UK has joined forces with Skyports, Deloitte and NHS Scotland to conduct a new 3-month drone trial using 4G technology, which will see the small unmanned aircraft being used to transport essential medical supplies and samples between sites for the National Health Service (NHS).

The hope is that Drone delivery will cut costs, improve the speed of transport and reduce delivery times in some areas of the Argyll & Bute region to just 15 minutes (at present it can take up to 36 hours for a comparable road and ferry journey), while also increasing the frequency of pick-ups.

As part of this Vodafone’s 4G network will be used to identify and track the location of a drone in real time at Skyports Operations Centre. The mobile network will complement existing satellite-based GPS location systems, to ensure connectivity coverage is provided at all times for safety reasons and to give a more robust and trusted picture of the drone’s location.

The drones will be remotely piloted from the Skyports Operations Centre in Argyll and Bute automatically as they follow along predefined routes. NHS staff will also be able to make on-demand and scheduled requests to use drones, via a web customer interface developed by Deloitte.

Anne Sheehan, Business Director of Vodafone UK, said:

“This is an amazing use of technology to overcome geographical boundaries. The trial is a big breakthrough, and we hope that we will see drone flights make a real difference for the NHS and for patients in the most remote parts of the UK.”

Drone technology has improved a lot over the past few years and so too has battery technology, which is partly why we’re increasingly able to see developments like this that could make certain critical tasks both faster and more efficient. Similarly, Openreach have been using drones to help with surveys and the rollout of fibre optic broadband cables for the past few years, while other operators have sometimes used them when establishing temporary mobile coverage during emergencies.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. A_Builder says:

    Great idea.

    What on earth are Deloitte doing designing the UI? I’m mean that name is the hand of death to an IT projects…..

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