By Chris Stonor
The medical drone delivery trials from Southampton to the Isle of Wight (IOW) which began in April has been commended in the Transport and Logistics category at this year’s Health Business Awards, reports islandecho.co.uk. Solent Transport and the various partners are the organisations involved in this groundbreaking project.
The trials transported medical supplies across the Solent to support the Isle of Wight NHS Trust’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Funded by the Department for Transport, the tests are part of the Solent Transport Future Transport Zone (FTZ) four year project. It deploys drones designed and built by the University of Southampton for Windracers, to transport medical supplies to St Marys Hospital from the mainland via the Solent Airport, a crossing that takes about 10 minutes.
The historic inaugural flight took place on May 9th with the unmanned craft landing successfully at Binstead Airfield near Ryde at 14:23 in the afternoon.
Nikki Turner, Director of Transformation at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said, “It is wonderful news about the commendation. Responding to the pandemic in an effective way, involved exploring lots of new ways of working, including more efficient transport solutions for PPE, medical supplies and pathology samples.”
She continued, “Through this collaborative project that brought together partners from the technology, NHS, local authority and university sectors, we are able to ensure our teams were involved in developing more efficient ways of transporting these items, while reducing the need of human travel and contact. We thank all those on the mainland and the Island who are involved in this exciting project.”
The project aim is to develop an air traffic management system to oversee the safe movement of both manned and unmanned aircraft in shared airspace. The hope is to benefit patients on the Isle of Wight by speeding up the delivery of critical medical supplies from hospitals on the mainland to the Isle of Wight.
A spokesperson for the Solent Transport partnership commented, “We want to thank everyone that has supported and worked on the project so far, including; the University of Southampton, Windracers, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire County Council and the brilliant NHS staff, especially those at St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight NHS Trust.”
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(News Source: https://www.islandecho.co.uk)