Drones are being used to carry Covid-19 test samples and other medical materials up to 40 miles (64km) across four locations in western Scotland. London drone firm Skyports has become the first operator to receive permission from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry diagnostic specimens by drone. Cargo – including test samples, medicine, personal protective equipment (PPE) and Covid-19 testing kits – is being transported by the drones in the Argyll & Bute region. A whole fleet of the drones are carrying up to 3kg of the supplies each, improving services for patients and healthcare staff in one of the UK's most remote areas. Drones can complete a journey that takes a whopping 36 hours by road and ferry to just 15 minutes, while increasing the frequency of pick-ups.
The coronavirus pandemic lockdown has highlighted a series of new social changes, but with it, a whole new set of software and hardware technologies have become our coping mechanisms. During the onset of the lockdown in March this year, businesses across a broad range of industries were forced to adapt rapidly in order to survive. Across the country, millions of staff began working from home and shoppers were unable to visit the high street. However, despite the disruption and challenges of Covid-19, a host of sectors are thriving. In this article, we will look at some of the major sectors that have benefitted from the'stay at home' culture and explore how the digital transformation of our daily lives has allowed us to cope with lockdown measures.
The UK's new Space Agency funding will be used to support drones that deliver coronavirus testing kits to a Scottish island. Skyports, the company behind the drones, started a two-week trial in May with NHS Highland, which serves a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland. The technology was able to cut delivery times between Oban and the Isle of Mull to around 15 minutes, instead of going via road and taking a 45-minute ferry crossing. An initial £2.6 million was made available by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA) to find and support space-enabled technologies and services that can support the NHS response to coronavirus. Skyports along with two other initiatives have been awarded a share of £1.1 million in funding, while the rest is open to bids until the end of September.