Dubai holds trial of drone delivering medicine in public-private sector tie-up

4 min read
By leveraging drones, Fakeeh University Hospital can now deliver medication promptly to patients. (WAM)
  • Fakeeh University Hospital, with the completion of the trial, becomes the first healthcare provider in the Middle East to leverage drone technology for medication delivery
  • The test was conducted within a 10-kilometre radius, carrying medication from the hospital to a patient's home in Cedre Villas project in Dubai Silicon Oasis

Dubai, UAE–Dubai held the first trial of medical delivery by drones at the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), in yet another unique public-private sector partnership.

The completion of the trial makes Fakeeh University Hospital, an academic-focused smart healthcare facility based in DSO, the first healthcare provider in the Middle East to leverage drone technology for medication delivery.

The step further strengthens the hospital’s position as a leading healthcare institution in the UAE and the wider region.

The trial is also in line with the objectives of the ‘Dubai Programme to Enable Drone Transportation’ launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, in 2021, aimed at increasing the efficiency of transportation services by utilising drones for various purposes.

The program seeks to provide an advanced infrastructure that enables innovators and relevant entities to test new drone solutions in designated areas.

The game-changing achievement took place within a 10-kilometre radius, transporting medication from the hospital to a patient’s home in Cedre Villas project, a gated community of luxury villas in the heart of DSO.

It follows a series of year-long trials conducted at Dubai Silicon Oasis, the special economic zone for knowledge and innovation and a member of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), in collaboration with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), and Barq Air, an Emirati smart mobility company and a holder of two Guinness World Records for executing the longest flight of a drone for the delivery service and the longest non-stop return flight for a drone.

The Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority has provided crucial support in establishing Dubai Silicon Oasis as an ideal environment for testing innovative and smart technology solutions.

Building upon this conducive ecosystem, Fakeeh University Hospital has taken a pioneering step in its commitment to embracing cutting-edge solutions to enhance patient care.

Dr. Juma Al Matrooshi, Director-General of Dubai Silicon Oasis, said, “As a knowledge and innovation hub within the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, Dubai Silicon Oasis is renowned for supporting the development and piloting of innovative and smart technology solutions. In line with our role within the ‘Dubai Programme to Enable Drone Transportation’, we are committed to empowering entities from the UAE and abroad to develop and test new drone solutions that boost efficiency and convenience.”

“Behind every successful solution implemented on a large-scale, there are numerous smaller-scale tests and attempts to reach the final stage. Hence, we are keen on providing a conducive environment and the required support for companies to run their trials, understand the circumstances, and complete their offerings. We congratulate Fakeeh University Hospital on a well-concluded pilot, and we look forward to seeing this initiative rolled-out at DSO,” Dr. Al Matrooshi added.

Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul, Chief Executive Officer at Fakeeh University Hospital, said, “Since our establishment, we have consistently embraced technological advancements to provide innovative services. However, this initiative marks a substantial leap forward in enhancing healthcare accessibility and achieving complete digitalisation.

He went on to say, “Fakeeh University Hospital has consistently been a leader in incorporating state-of-the-art technology into our everyday operations. We firmly believe that the potential of modern technology is limitless, and this is just the beginning of what future technologies have in store. In addition to our commitment and dedication, the unwavering support of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority, the Dubai Future Foundation and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has played a key role in realising this initiative.”

The introduction of drone delivery of medicine presents a shift in healthcare accessibility and efficiency. The key benefits of this innovative approach include quick response, enhanced accessibility, reliability and sustainability.

By leveraging drones, Fakeeh University Hospital can now deliver medication promptly to patients, significantly reducing response time and potentially saving lives in critical situations.

Drones also eliminate geographical barriers, allowing patients to receive medication without on ground delays. This ground-breaking solution ensures equitable access to healthcare services for all UAE residents.

Drone delivery also significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional transportation methods.

This eco-friendly method aligns with UAE’s and Fakeeh University Hospital’s commitment to sustainability and supports the country’s vision of becoming a global leader in innovation.

Additionally, the system incorporates advanced features, including collision avoidance technology and real-time monitoring, which guarantees the secure transportation of medication.