ANRA Technologies, an integrated airspace management company, has announced its participation in the CAELUS project, a consortium led by AGS Airports that will develop and trial the UK’s first national distribution network using drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs, and other medical supplies throughout Scotland.

The AGS led consortium, which brings together 13 organisations, successfully secured £1.5 million from the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund to demonstrate how autonomous drone technology can enhance access to essential medical supplies, particularly in rural parts of Scotland.

The CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) project started on 1 December and will involve live drone flight trials. In addition to developing the ground infrastructure needed to recharge the drones and the systems to control them while flying, a key aspect of the project will be designing pathways to ensure the drones can safely share airspace with civil aviation. The project will also ensure critical aspects such as public safety, security and noise levels are considered.

A digital blueprint of the drone delivery network will then be created with the potential to connect hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland. The project is scheduled to run until Spring 2022.

ANRA is leading the development and architectural framework for the Drone Logistics Network, system-of-systems digital demonstrator. It will feature digital representations of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) simulator, the energy system infrastructure, fleet management, and medical order fulfilment software. The Digital Demonstrator will provide the foundation for the Digital Twin for medical drone deliveries in Scotland.

While there have been many drone delivery projects that have focused on the hardware, none have integrated all the necessary elements into one comprehensive solution. ANRA was sought to be a partner to leverage its SmartSkiesTM UTM, SmartSkiesTM DELIVERY, and MissionManagerTM platform experience and technology as the foundation for digital demonstrator.

Using the flagship SmartSkies platform, the CAELUS project will advance drone enabled delivery capability closer to reality for implementation into legacy airspace systems.

“ANRA leads the CAELUS technology package that will develop the Digital Demonstrator for the Drone Logistics Network.  This really excites us since it will allow ANRA to collaborate with our partners, bringing our extensive experience in enabling airspace management, delivery, and fleet management for simulated drone delivery operations within a virtual environment followed by live flights,”

stated Amit Ganjoo, CEO of ANRA Technologies.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the NHS West of Scotland Innovation Hub, which supports health and social care innovation across the West of Scotland, will work alongside the AGS led consortium on the project.

Karen Bell, Head of Research & Development – Innovation Lead for NHS Ayrshire & Arran said:

“NHS Ayrshire & Arran are excited to be leading on the delivery of this project on behalf of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub. “This is an opportunity to work with aviation colleagues to explore the innovative use of drone technology to address some of the potential challenges facing daily delivery of NHS services, not only within NHS Ayrshire & Arran but across the West of Scotland.”

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, added:

“At this very challenging time for the international aviation industry, it is a great testament to the UK’s drive and ambition that we have had such a strong response to the first funded Future Flight competition. The breadth, quality and creativity of the bids has been exceptional and the economic and social benefits offered are very significant. The projects we are now launching will position the UK strongly to drive the third revolution in aviation.”

The CAELUS consortium comprises:

  • ANRA Technologies UK Ltd NATS (Services) Limited
  • AGS Airports Limited Schneider Electric (UK) Limited
  • Atkins LtdAvy – Drones for Good
  • The Drone Office LtdConnected Places Catapult
  • Trax International Ltd DGP Intelsius Limited
  • uAvionix Ltd
  • Leonardo MW Ltd
  • University of Strathclyde Dronamics

Source: Press Release

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