NUIG researchers use drone technology to deliver medication to Aran Islands

NUIG researchers use drone technology to deliver medication to Aran Islands
An aerial view of the Aran Islands

Researchers at NUI Galway have made aviation history by using drone technology to deliver diabetes medication to the Aran Islands and collect a patient's blood sample from there.

The 18km test flight, from Connemara Airport to the airstrip on Inis Mór, took around 15 minutes to complete.

Described as the world's first "autonomous beyond visual line of sight drone delivery" of insulin, the flight required special permission from the Irish Aviation Authority. It took place between commercial flights to the island and involved dispatching the insulin in specially designed packaging which was placed in a small parcel box on the drone. Operators on both air facilities were able to monitor the craft's progress throughout the journey.

It is hoped that the delivery can be used as the starting point for formulating more extensive drone dispatches to remote locations.

Project lead, Professor Derek O’Keeffe, professor of medical device technology, NUI Galway and consultant physician at Galway University Hospitals, said:

Individuals and communities in rural locations can become isolated for days after a severe weather event and an emergency may arise where patients can run out of their medicine.

"Therefore, it is incumbent on us to develop a solution for these emergencies. This #DiabetesDrone project represents another milestone in the use of drones to improve patient care.”

As well as researchers from the university, a range of medical, logistical and technical experts were involved in the project.

The drone was launched from Connemara Airport using a combination of software - one for the pre-flight check list and one for the mission flight.

The drone was connected via Vodafone Ireland’s IoT network and it flew a pre-planned flight path using Q Ground Control software.

More on this topic

Billy Connolly shares update on Parkinson’s diseaseBilly Connolly shares update on Parkinson’s disease

Johnson & Johnson in $4bn opioid offerJohnson & Johnson in $4bn opioid offer

Zero-rated tax remains for some foodsZero-rated tax remains for some foods

TTM health staff recruitment firm in €2.3m profitTTM health staff recruitment firm in €2.3m profit


More in this Section

The DUP’s three concerns with Boris Johnson’s Brexit dealThe DUP’s three concerns with Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

Man due in court following assault in CorkMan due in court following assault in Cork

Principals: Government cannot ignore schools funding and recruitment crisisPrincipals: Government cannot ignore schools funding and recruitment crisis

Justice department rejects almost a third of asylum seeker work applicationsJustice department rejects almost a third of asylum seeker work applications


Lifestyle

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

Ladysbridge and District Flower and Garden Club will meet on Monday at 8pm in Garryvoe Hotel.Gardening Notes: Your one-stop guide to the week's events

Don’t forget to lavish roses with the attention they deserve this winter, urges Hannah StephensonDon’t forget to lavish roses with the attention they deserve this winter

More From The Irish Examiner