Abu Dhabi is on track to operate the world’s first city-wide medical drone network


The use of drones to transfer and deliver medical supplies is now one more step towards a reality in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

that of Abu Dhabi Ministry of Health (DoH) announced that it was testing an advanced drone network for the health sector in the emirate. Deemed to be a “first of its kind” project in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the new network – made up of 40 drone stations – is expected to be established in 2022.

Working with the DoH on the project is the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), SkyGo from Abu Dhabi and the Californian company Matternet. The network is expected to operate “24 hours a day” as part of the Abu Dhabi Emergency Response Network.

“With state-of-the-art infrastructure, Abu Dhabi is able to serve as a test bed for promising innovations with practical use cases, especially those that seek to safeguard the health and safety of our people,” said the President of the DoH, His Excellency Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed. . “We look forward to bringing this project to life and seeing it become one of Abu Dhabi’s pioneering initiatives.

Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos added: “Complementary expertise and synergies with SkyGo have allowed us to move forward at unprecedented speed with plans to launch a network spanning dozens of healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi from the first year of operation.

“It will be a model for the rest of the world on how to successfully scale up drone delivery for the benefit of healthcare and society at large. “

THE BROADER CONTEXT

The goal of the project is for drones to safely transfer medical supplies, drugs, blood units, vaccines and samples between laboratories, pharmacies, blood banks and health facilities in the city.

The first phase of testing has reportedly already been completed, with the second phase currently underway and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

A recent protest allegedly involved the transport and delivery of medical samples from Zayed Sports City to an undisclosed laboratory.

“The samples were transported with an end-to-end chain of control [GDPS compliant], while the drone flew autonomously at an altitude of 300 feet above the ground, ”the DoH said in a statement.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

According to the DoH, the project “will help in emergencies and help reduce occupancy rates in health facilities as well as improve the quality of patient outcomes.” The Authority added that the network is also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion.

With regard to the government at large, the establishment of the network is in line with the UAE 50 projects initiative, and the UAE Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Strategy.

ON THE RECORD

HE Al Hamed added, “Under the wise leadership and guidance, we look forward to working with our partners to make Abu Dhabi the first city in the MENA region to adopt and [make] the use of this technology. We will continue to deploy cutting-edge technologies that will improve the health sector for the benefit of citizens and residents.

“For the future, we will continue to work towards establishing the emirate as a global health hub while at the same time developing a health system suitable for the future. “

About Hector Hedgepeth

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