In a collaborative effort, Google’s Wing and medical drone logistics firm Apian are establishing a medical drone delivery service in Ireland, while simultaneously exploring opportunities in the UK. Drones offer new opportunities for delivering crucial medical and pharmaceutical items to patients and hospitals. Wing and Apian have teamed up to introduce a medical drone delivery program in Ireland, beginning with healthcare institutions and caregivers in Dublin later this year.
Wing and Apian will work alongside healthcare and pharmacy partners to forge an expedited medical delivery network in the southern region of Dublin. This network, underpinned by Wing’s aircraft and automation technology, hopes to improve the patient experience while alleviating traffic congestion and emissions within the local community.
Wing’s advanced fleet of automated delivery drones is well-suited for a diverse range of healthcare applications. The technology has been designed to ensure the fast and efficient transport of pharmacy items, laboratory samples, medical devices, and supplies, especially within urban and suburban environments.
Apian, a healthcare logistics enterprise founded by a group of medical professionals from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), has amalgamated healthcare and aviation systems through its platform. The company offers a fully automated, on-demand delivery system, which not only advances patient health outcomes but also contributes to the well-being of medical staff. From the blog post by Google Chief Financial Officer Shannon Nash:
Together, Wing and Apian believe that healthcare should benefit from on-demand delivery much like consumers do in their personal lives. Medical drone delivery can provide a faster, more reliable, lower-cost solution than ground-based alternatives. We aim to address speed, inefficiencies, and also environmental challenges by reducing vehicles on the road. Wing’s operations require very little infrastructure and can be set up in a range of spaces, making them suitable for a wide variety of healthcare facilities.
Continued progress in regulatory frameworks within the European Union and the UK has paved the way for safe and practical drone services to flourish on a larger scale. This collaboration marks Wing’s second operation in Ireland, following successful public demonstration services in Lusk. The invaluable feedback and collaborative engagement from the local community during this endeavor have offered profound insights into the future trajectory of drone delivery services. With an eye towards the future, both Wing and Apian eagerly anticipate forthcoming opportunities within the UK, building on their extensive collaboration with regulators and contributions to shaping pivotal policy discussions.
Drone-based healthcare services, when deployed at scale, offer tremendous benefits for strapped healthcare systems around the world. The joint investment by Wing and Apian is a first step towards demonstrating the value and safety case.