Project CAELUS has moved one step closer to delivering the UK’s first national medical distribution network using drones with successful live flight trials.

The flights took place between Glasgow Airport and NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank and were operated by CAELUS consortium member Skyports Drone Services.

Fiona Smith, AGS Airports Group head of aerodrome strategy and CAELUS project director, said, “These flight trials are an important step towards the integration of drones into modern airspace and enabling the safe use of drones at scale within Scotland’s airspace. The input from all partners has resulted in a high-quality safety case for the flights undertaken in a busy airport environment which can be transposed for other sites in future.”

What is Project CAELUS?

Project CAELUS (Care and Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland), is part funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Flight Challenge. It is led by AGS Airports in partnership with NHS Scotland and brings together 16 partners working to deliver the first national drone network that can transport essential medicines, bloods and other medical supplies throughout Scotland, including to remote communities.

Since January 2020, the CAELUS consortium has designed drone landing stations for NHS sites across Scotland and developed a digital twin of the proposed delivery network which connects hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland.

Liam Day, commercial project manager and CAELUS lead, Skyports Drone Services, which has a long history of operating medical drone deliveries, said, “It’s always fantastic to get our drones flying on new projects, especially when it marks an important step in delivering an impactful service that will benefit local communities and access to healthcare.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our journey with the CAELUS consortium to support NHS Scotland’s adoption of safe, efficient and sustainable drone services.”

Image courtesy Glasgow Airport / AGS Airports

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