UK's NHS takes to the skies with drones carrying Covid-19 tests

A medical drone delivery service founded by trainee doctors that aims to transport coronavirus samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals has won the backing of Britain’s Space Agency.

The drone will be used to carry Covid-19 resources between hospitals in the UK. Source: @Apianaero

The start-up project can help free up healthcare staff, avoid courier waiting times and minimise the risk of virus transmission, authorities said today.

Trainee doctors Hammad Jeilani and Christopher Law are trialing 'dronepad' infrastructure so the miniature aircraft can take off from and land on hospitals, laboratories and warehouses.

They are planning to scale up the trials and set up a nationwide network of secure air corridors to enable the drone delivery service to work safely across National Health Service sites.

The hybrid drones — which have the rotors of a typical drone and the wings of a plane — can carry a maximum of 2 kilograms and fly about 96 kilometres.

The drone project is among others set to share $2.5 million NZD of funding from the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency to businesses developing space-based solutions for challenges created by Covid-19.