A fixed-wing UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) manufactured by Threod Systems has been used to transport a potential coronavirus sample from Estonia’s second-largest island, Hiiumaa, for testing in the capital city Tallinn. The flight was organised jointly by Threod and the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH).
The flight commenced at Heltermaa harbor and arrived 27 minutes later at Rohuküla on the mainland. A ferry journey between the same two points would have taken over an hour to cover the 12 nautical miles.
Meelis Roosimägi, head of the PERH hospital network, said that PERH are constantly developing new solutions to provide help to patients in time-critical situations. “In the current, and future sudden epidemics, the conduct of fast clinical surveys is essential to be able to direct assistance to where it is needed most.”
“Our healthcare infrastructure is quite good already; samples from different corners of the mainland reach labs with better capabilities in one-and-a-half hours. There are problems, however, when it comes to the various islands off the coast of Estonia. The sea makes all journeys long, and often makes deliveries dependent on ferry schedules. This is not just with the big islands, but also the small islands, where there are no local medical services.”
In accordance with these requirements, PERH decided to test delivery of medical samples by drone for the first time in Estonia. The success of this first flight will allow them to move forward with further development.
Whilst a range of seven kilometers is considered advanced for many small UAVs, even greater range may be required in a crisis or when one of Estonia’s smaller or most outlying islands must be reached. Threod Systems provides drones with ranges of 100 kilometers with payload capacities of more than one kilogram, which makes them well suited for such situations.