Medical Delivery

Ireland: World's first BVLOS drone delivery of Insulin

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22 km

average distance

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17 mins

average flight time

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0.5 kg

average payload

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Challenge

Challenge

Challenge

Challenge

In most places, Diabetes medication is nowadays available from local pharmacies, allowing patients to follow a strict set of treatment rules.

However, inhabitants of remote geographic regions can sometimes become isolated for days, running out of their lifesaving medication – as was the case in 2017 when hurricane Ophelia and later that year storm Emma hit the Aaran Islands off the Western coast of Ireland.

The remote island of Pentecost is one of 83 islands in the South Pacific that make up the nation of Vanuatu. The 60 km long island is made up predominantly of mountainous terrain covered in dense jungle. In many cases, the islanders don’t have access to roads, electricity or permanent healthcare facilities.

Providing access to vaccines in the most remote communities involves nurses travelling from health centers, sometimes having to hike for several hours or days, or travel by boat around the island. Even short distances can take long and costly hours in which the heat-sensitive medical supplies are exposed to the tropical heat and arduous travel conditions.

In most places, Diabetes medication is nowadays available from local pharmacies, allowing patients to follow a strict set of treatment rules.

However, inhabitants of remote geographic regions can sometimes become isolated for days, running out of their lifesaving medication – as was the case in 2017 when hurricane Ophelia and later that year storm Emma hit the Aaran Islands off the Western coast of Ireland.

In most places, Diabetes medication is nowadays available from local pharmacies, allowing patients to follow a strict set of treatment rules.

However, inhabitants of remote geographic regions can sometimes become isolated for days, running out of their lifesaving medication – as was the case in 2017 when hurricane Ophelia and later that year storm Emma hit the Aaran Islands off the Western coast of Ireland.

Solution

Solution

Solution

In 2019, Professor Derek O’Keeffe of NUI Galway in Ireland approached us, encouraging a joint pilot project to investigate the feasibility of delivering Insulin for patients in emergency situations via drone.

In partnership with Vodafone, NUIG, Skytango, Survey Drones Ireland, and Novo Nordisk, we planned everything meticulously to be able to fly the Wingcopter with prescription medicine aboard beyond visual line of sight and over a distance of more than 21 kilometers despite harsh wind conditions.

In 2019, Professor Derek O’Keeffe of NUI Galway in Ireland approached us, encouraging a joint pilot project to investigate the feasibility of delivering Insulin for patients in emergency situations via drone.

In partnership with Vodafone, NUIG, Skytango, Survey Drones Ireland, and Novo Nordisk, we planned everything meticulously to be able to fly the Wingcopter with prescription medicine aboard beyond visual line of sight and over a distance of more than 21 kilometers despite harsh wind conditions.

In 2019, Professor Derek O’Keeffe of NUI Galway in Ireland approached us, encouraging a joint pilot project to investigate the feasibility of delivering Insulin for patients in emergency situations via drone.

In partnership with Vodafone, NUIG, Skytango, Survey Drones Ireland, and Novo Nordisk, we planned everything meticulously to be able to fly the Wingcopter with prescription medicine aboard beyond visual line of sight and over a distance of more than 21 kilometers despite harsh wind conditions.

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Outcome

Outcome

Outcome

On September 13, 2019, a dose of Diabetes medication was autonomously delivered by drone for the very first time in Europe (possibly even in the world) when the Wingcopter gently touched down on the Aran Islands.

On its way back, the Wingcopter carried a blood sample to be tested on the mainland.

On September 13, 2019, a dose of Diabetes medication was autonomously delivered by drone for the very first time in Europe (possibly even in the world) when the Wingcopter gently touched down on the Aran Islands.

On its way back, the Wingcopter carried a blood sample to be tested on the mainland.

On September 13, 2019, a dose of Diabetes medication was autonomously delivered by drone for the very first time in Europe (possibly even in the world) when the Wingcopter gently touched down on the Aran Islands.

On its way back, the Wingcopter carried a blood sample to be tested on the mainland.

  

"Insulin is essential for my survival and having a diabetes drone service in an emergency situation would ensure this survival while living on an offshore island."

Marion Hernon a patient with diabetes on the Aran Islands

Impressions

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