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China fights coronavirus with delivery drones

March 6, 2020  - By
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Through its group company Antwork, Japanese company Terra Drone is employing its UAV system to transport medical samples and quarantine supplies in China to fight the coronavirus.

At 9 a.m. on Feb. 6, a medical delivery drone flew from the People’s Hospital of Xinchang County to the disease control center of Xinchang County, marking the launch of the first urban-air transportation channel to help to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19 ), a global health emergency.

Take off and landing point of Xinchang people's Hospital. (Photo: Terra Drone)

Take off and landing point of Xinchang people’s Hospital. (Photo: Terra Drone)

The World Health Organization reports at least 95,270 people are infected and at least 3,280 have died. China, where COVID-19 originated, is in a tense period of epidemic prevention and control. Xinchang County is in Zhejiang province — one of the areas most severely hit by the virus.

As soon as the Wuhan quarantine began on Jan. 23, Antwork petitioned to provide drone technical support.

Antwork’s RA3 and tr7s drones and unmanned RH1 station are ensuring that medical samples and quarantine materials can travel with minimal risk between Xinchang County People’s Hospital and Xinchang County’s disease control center. The automatic, unmanned air delivery system significantly reduces contact between samples and personnel, as well as improves delivery speed.

Antwork branch company Aerodeli, which undertook the operation, obtained the first urban drone delivery license issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in October 2019. The sample delivery work is carried out in strict accordance with certified operation procedures to ensure the safety of medical samples during transportation.

Take off and landing point of disease control center of Xinchang County. (Photo: Terra Drone)

Take off and landing point of disease control center of Xinchang County. (Photo: Terra Drone)

Using drones has increased the speed of transport by more than 50% compared to road transportation, proving to be a more efficient means of transportation for epidemic prevention and control. The drones also relieve the personnel shortage as more and more medical staff and ambulances are transferred to the front lines — making the best use of human and material resources.

After the project for Xinchang People’s Hospital was put into operation, Antwork began assisting more medical institutions in China to deploy drone transport services for the anti-epidemic effort.

A drone departs from the disease control center of Xinchang County. (Photo: Terra Drone)

A drone departs from the disease control center of Xinchang County. (Photo: Terra Drone)

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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