Drone Delivery Canada Launches Pilot Program to Trial Blood-Borne Testing in Rural Areas

Many of Canada’s vast rural and remote areas are inaccessible to conventional medical services. Drone Delivery Canada is trialing a way to reach them.

byMarco Margaritoff|
Drone Delivery Canada Launches Pilot Program to Trial Blood-Borne Testing in Rural Areas

Drone Delivery Canada (DDC), which successfully completed its first series of test flights in New York’s drone-testing corridor this spring, announced Tuesday that it will conduct a pilot project with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory. According to the press release, the mission here is to assess how effective drone deliveries can be in facilitating access to blood-borne infection testing in rural and remote areas. 

Drone Delivery Canada plans to use its logistics platform to establish a customized “Depot to Depot” system, through which unmanned drones would ideally securely take off from one hub to autonomously find their way to another. We’ve reported on similar endeavors before, such as the Swiss variety, which has Matternet stations conveniently transport blood and plasma samples from one clinic’s drone launch pad to another. 

Should DDC’s trial phase end successfully, by satisfying the standards of the PHAC and encountering little to no operations failures, Drone Delivery Canada hopes to implement a standardized system on a large scale in partnership with Transport Canada (similar to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) to provide those in inaccessible environments with the medical services they need.

“This is a unique and new application of our drone delivery platform that could result in significant health benefits in remote, isolated communities across Canada,” said DDC CEO Tony Di Benedetto. 

To his point, Drone Delivery Canada has largely focused on working with retailers and commercial clients, to maximize businesses with aerial deliveries from food and pharmacies to grocery stores and dry cleaners. Pivoting to the medical arena, as of Tuesday’s announcement, is a significant business shift.

As for the specifics of this newly announced pilot project, DDC will revamp some of its hardware and logistics to suit the physical requirements dictated by these new payloads. From controlling the climate of the drone’s cargo and monitoring the temperature and humidity of its medical payload, to establishing secure privacy protocols that protect the confidentiality of patients using this service, there’s quite a lot to work on. 

As it stands, the announcement brings hope to those of us who’d rather see unmanned aerial technology be used for humanitarian purposes than their irresponsible, illegal, or subversive counterparts.