Custom-made, state-of-the-art medical drones with a flying range of up to 250km will be developed and trialled for delivery of potentially life-saving medicines in the Northern Territory – Australia’s first ever healthcare drone trial for regional Australia, Mirage News reports.
The project will also pave the way for future delivery of critical items such as cold-storage vaccines (Covid 19) in regional and remote communities, the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre – part of the Federal Government-funded CRC Program – revealed today.
The Northern Territory is one of the most sparsely settled jurisdictions in the developed world with a significant Indigenous population living in remote communities.
iMOVE is funding the project in partnership with the NT Government Department of Health and Charles Darwin University (CDU), who will manage the trial under Associate Professor Hamish Campbell.
The project is already running with talks underway with manufacturers for suitable drone airframes capable of handling wet and dry seasons, and a maximum flying range of 250km.
Leading drone services consultants Hover UAV, who have managed projects for Google and developed cutting-edge shark detection surveillance technology, are advising on the project.
Drone pilots will soon be recruited and will undergo specialist training.
The Project will involve developing a drone test flight centre in the Northern Territory.
Key goals and milestones for the project include:
- Regular drone flights of up to 100km by the end of 2021
- Regular drone flights of up to 250km & regular transport of medical items to and from remote communities by July 1, 2023
- Further development into drone delivery of cold-chain items (COVID-19 vaccine)
iMOVE programs director Lee-Ann Breger, a specialist in transformational R&D, conceived the project and was heavily involved in bringing together the necessary industry and government partners needed to undertake the project.