Oxfordshire County Council and Unmanned Life to deploy autonomous UAVs that deliver medical supplies

Covid-19 has severely impacted all walks of human life. Emergency services, governments and law enforcement agencies are overwhelmed in tackling Covid-19 as well as implementing strict measures to reduce the spread of the virus. The healthcare sector has come under immense pressure to save the lives of affected citizens with doctors and nurses having to work double-shifts. Unmanned Life (UML) proposes to assist governments and the healthcare sector as a whole by deploying Autonomous Delivery of Medical Supplies to Care Homes. With Oxfordshire County Council as co-investigator. Together, we will collaborate to deploy autonomous UAVs that deliver medical supplies (including acute medicine and some lightweight PPE) from pharmacies, securely and timely to care homes for patients fighting Covid-19. This is expected to significantly decrease the risk of infection at care homes, which is one of the most impacted sectors from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, COVID-19 medical supplies are delivered by dedicated courier services. This process of delivering medical supplies manually is slow and inefficient resulting in the lengthy turnaround time, potential contamination of couriers and patients when collecting the medication as well as lack of operational coverage for rural areas due to a high demand within urban areas. Adding all up, the cost of such operation can be quite high resulting in more limited accessibility for those ones with limited financial resources. By deploying autonomous drone delivery, we ensure a quick turnaround time for medical supplies, reduce the contamination of couriers, increase the number of supplies delivered at a lower cost and thus save more lives. The study will provide a scalability business model to increase the scope of the service (multiple drop-offs, multiple pharmacies, services to hospitals and homes) and bridge the knowledge and skills gap to use drones for delivery of COVID-19 medicines and PPE. UML’s Autonomy-as-a-Service software platform has already been deployed by major enterprise customers like Verizon, Swiss Post etc. as well as governments like the City of Vienna for use cases ranging from indoor logistics to autonomous search and rescue.