Drone trial for delivery of medical supplies to remote communities to commence in NSW

New South Wales Medical Supplies delivered by drone

[Editor’s Note: Angel Drone will begin a trial in rural New South Wales later this year.]

This post originally appeared on http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-31/drones-to-deliver-medical-supplies/7979442.

Australians in remote communities in need of vital medical supplies may soon be able to receive them by drone, according to leading neurosurgeon Charles Teo.

Key points:

  • Neurosurgeon Charles Teo is the ambassador for a project to deliver blood and organs by drone to remote areas
  • Angel Drone is due to commence a medical supply delivery trial in rural NSW this year
  • Drones have taken off in industries such as defence and real estate

Mr Teo is the ambassador for a new project to deliver supplies such as blood and organs by unmanned aerial vehicles to hard-to-reach areas.

Angel Drone is due to commence a trial of its service in rural New South Wales later this year.

“We chose that title [Angel Drone] because we believe that although drones have been used for industries such as mining and unfortunately war, it’s about time we utilised that technology for the betterment of mankind and the greater good,” he said.

The renowned neurosurgeon sees various uses for it in Australia but said regulation around drone use remained the final obstacle.

“Once the regulations are in place, and I think that’s a huge hurdle that we need to jump, then we’ll be able to transport not only specimens, but human tissue, human organs and even humans themselves through drones.”

According to Mr Teo, those in remote communities could expect the service within 12 months.

“I think that’s going to be very soon,” he said.

“I believe that if we can get these regulations off the ground — pardon the pun — then I think maybe even within a year.”

He said the company had the support of the Federal Government and that Australia was leading the way with commercial use of drone technology.

“We’ve been sort of heading the regulations sphere for at least a decade,” he said.

“We were the first to regulate unmanned aircraft back in 2002 and we’re sort of leading the world when it comes to regulation and safety issues.”

Drones’ commercial applications varied

Drones have taken off in defence and real estate, where an eye in the sky can be invaluable.

Troy Fardell, managing director of RPAS Australia, flies drones for the mining industry and said their use was varied.

“Currently the main area of drone usage is in aerial surveys or mines and quarries, but also for environmental purposes — analysing vegetation coverage, that sort of thing,” he said.

“And of course we use them for filming promotional type activities.”

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Mr Teo said Angel Drone was well prepared to begin its service helping people in remote Australia.

The project will be headed by aviation law expert and consultant Ron Bartsch.

“There is technology available that prevents these unmanned vehicles from colliding with anything else,” said Mr Teo.

“We’ve got a person [Mr Bartsch] heading Angel Drone who has 35 years experience in the aviation industry and especially regulation, who worked for Qantas for many years.

“If anyone can do it, he can.”

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