The first delivery of prescription drugs by drone took place on Salt Spring Island on Aug. 19 as part of Transport Canada’s drone trials and by all accounts it was a success. Indro Robotics, which is based on Saltspring, partnered with Canada Post to deliver an EpiPen and naloxone from a London Drugs in Duncan to a resident on Saltspring. A second delivery was made the same day to a grocery store. The delivery was the first practical use of a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone test and demonstrated how drone deliveries can save a lot of time. The drone made the six-kilometre flight in a few minutes whereas delivering the package by road and ferry would have taken most of a day.
The drone navigated the route to both drop points mostly on its own. It has sense and avoid technology that allows it to avoid traffic and weather and was also broadcasting its position to nearby air traffic. A safety pilot monitored the drone’s flights. The delivery of essential items to those in remote areas is seen as a major benefit for drone flights and London Drugs spokesman Chris Chiew said the potential to help people faster is of real interest to his company. “It opens up a huge opportunity for pharmacists to get aid quicker to those who need it,” Chiew told the Vancouver Sun.“In the very near future, we will be able to provide delivery of prescription medications to an abundance of areas not accessible by vehicle.”