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Ireland faciliates world's first BVLOS drone delivery of Insulin

Josh Spires | 30 June, 2022 | The Sphere Drones Blog

Featured image for Ireland faciliates world's first BVLOS drone delivery of Insulin

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. This is where Wingcopter's 198 delivery drone steps in.

"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

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.

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.

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