Drone trials to transport medical supplies to Isle of Wight begin

The first test flights of drones to get medical supplies to the Isle of Wight have taken place.

Drones have been taking off in Hampshire, as part of a £28 million government scheme to transport medicines during the pandemic.

The drones can carry loads of 100kg, in order to get essential medical supplies to St Mary's Hospital in Newport.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the plan to fast-track the launch of the drone trials on Friday 24th April.

100kg

load can be carried by drones during a flight

The project is being funded by the Department for Transport, as part of a plan to improve freight in Hampshire.

It also follows the reduction in ferry services between Portsmouth and Southampton due to lockdown restrictions.

Credit: Solent Transport

The company behind the drones, Windracers, said it has been working alongside the University of Southampton for more than three years to finalise the design.

The drone has a double-engine and will carry the loads more than 620 miles to the island.

Windracers chief executive Charles Scales said: "We are very pleased that we are able to contribute to helping the NHS fight Covid-19 and proud to be part of this ground-breaking project."

Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Maggie Oldham, chief executive of the Isle of Wight NHS trust said it is "fantastic" to see how innovative technology is able to support health care on the island.

She said: "This work has the potential to significantly improve services for our local community and speed up the transfer of important, possibly life-saving medication."