Funding awarded for UK’s first medical drone distribution network

Chris Tutton Chris Tutton UKIMEA Press office,London
21 July 2022

Arup will assist with the delivery of the UK’s first medical distribution network using drones, following the award of funding by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Working with AGS Airports Ltd and NHS Scotland as part of the CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) consortium, Arup will help to develop a network to transport essential medicines, bloods and other medical supplies throughout Scotland, including to remote communities.

The CAELUS project includes an essential study of the societal response to the use of drone technologies in the context of medical services.  Arup’s SoundLab technology will be used to help people understand the noise impact of drones used for the project, with residents and stakeholders able to experience and respond to the noise levels of different drones and operational modes through auralisations delivered remotely to residents in their homes.

The CAELUS consortium has designed drone landing stations across Scotland since receiving a first round of funding in early 2020, with this next step set to introduce live flight trials and test the impact of the drone technology used for the project.

Drone technology has the potential to add vital new routes for medical transport in Scotland, particularly increasing options and providing greater equality in medical provision to remote and island communities. Arup is pleased to be playing a part in making this a reality.

“SoundLab will provide local people with a clear understanding of the noise from drones, enabling them to make an informed judgement on the balance of potential impact against improved medical provision. This study will support and accelerate societal acceptance of drone technology so enabling its adoption across Scotland and more widely. ” David Hiller Associate Director at Arup

The funding has been awarded as part of the Future Flight Challenge – a £125m investment in the development of new classes of aviation – including the safe integration and operation of drones.