BT Conducts Successful BVLOS Drone Trial For Medical Deliveries

BVLOS Drone trial

Pointers at Glance

  • BT‘s drone connectivity solution, powered by EE’s mobile network, enabled efficient and safe drone mission communications, ensuring the safe medical deliveries and samples.
  • The BVLOS drone trial demonstrates the potential for drones to revolutionize medical delivery by reducing costs and cutting delivery times and could help ease the growing pressures on the healthcare system.

The UK’s biggest telecom provider in terms of subscribers, BT, has partnered with Medical Logistics UK and drone experts Skyfarer to carry out the nation’s initial over-land Beyond Visual Line of Sight – BVLOS drone trail.

Goals of The BVLOS Drone Trial

The BVLOS drone trial aims to transform medical deliveries by working on the following:

  1. Reducing the costs involved in ground transportation over congested roads
  2. Cutting delivery times through longer distances

The trial was conducted in the heart of the UK, close to urban areas, and in complex airspace, connecting University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire over a 32km route.

Powered by BT-owned mobile network EE, the trial utilized BT’s drone connectivity solution, which enables efficient and safe drone mission communications, ensuring the safe delivery of medical supplies and samples.

During the trial, 130 flights have been flown, with no faults or failures, covering more than 1,900km. The drone has flown more than the equivalent of flying from London to North Africa.

The trial used a carbon emission-saving study, which identified the following:

  1. A 99.98 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to a diesel van
  2. A 90.5 percent reduction in emissions compared to an electric van

Drones Could Revolutionize Medical Deliveries and Save Costs

The BVLOS drone trial demonstrates that drones can do more than just deliver consumer goods; they can also save lives. In the future, using drones for medical deliveries could help ease the growing pressures on the healthcare system, where hospitals increasingly need to receive and transport time-sensitive medical supplies and samples.

BT’s incubation arm, Etc., has been forming commercial drone partnerships. The recent deal between Etc. and UTM technology provider Altitude Angel supports the development of the UK’s drone superhighway, the world’s largest and longest network of its kind.

The connectivity provided by BT for the drone trials is optimized for use at altitude and complies with emerging UK regulations and standards. BT says that collaboration between Etc. and drone partners like Skyfarer is key to enabling real-world testing and ensuring the airspace is safe for critical drone flights such as medical and blue light services.

The trials began in October 2022 and are a significant step forward in medical delivery. Recent research suggested that drones could increase GDP in the healthcare sector by more than £4 billion by 2030 and save the sector around half a billion in costs.

BT’s drone connectivity solution is vital in enabling efficient and safe drone mission communications and supporting medical deliveries.

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