Drones to deliver coronavirus testing kits backed by UK Space Agency
UK Space Agency funding will be delegated to three new projects that have been designated to supporting space-enabled technologies and services that can support the NHS response to coronavirus.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway has announced that the joint initiative between the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA) will utilise drones to deliver coronavirus testing kits to support vulnerable groups as part of the initiative.
London-based mobility company Skyports will be collaborating with NHS Highland to utilise drones in the transportation of medical supplies and samples from a hospital on the Argyll and Bute mainland.
In order to transport medical supplies to islands and medical practices further afield, a drone will use mobile connectivity, satellite communications and navigation, and Earth observation data to chart its course.
The UK space industry is well-positioned to support the unparalleled national effort in the fight against Covid-19 and recover strongly from the global pandemic, utilising some of the most established in the field across the country. Until 30th September 2020, the UK Space Agency and ESA are still looking to fund further projects looking to assist the UK space sector in its response and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme supports global healthcare projects by utilising UK expertise for issues such as provision of early warnings of dengue fever outbreaks in Vietnam using Earth observation satellites and telecommunications to enable the transportation of basic medical healthcare into remote areas in Nigeria.
The NHS national clinical lead for innovation, Professor Tony Young, said: “The NHS Long Term Plan is bringing new technologies into the NHS to improve patient care and save lives, and as we deal with the greatest challenge in the NHS’ history.
“The UK continues to be a leading member of ESA having committed a record investment of £374 million per year in November 2019. This funding to support the coronavirus response comes from ESA’s Business Applications Space Solutions fund, in which the UK is the leading investor”.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It is great news that the UK Space Agency is supporting coronavirus response projects which will benefit Scottish communities”.