On August 19, 2019, Canada Post, in partnership with London Drugs and InDro Robotics, successfully completed Canada’s first-ever Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) flight carrying pharmaceuticals via Drone from a London Drugs pharmacy to remote Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.
Canada Post was selected along with InDro Robotics in 2018 to participate in Transport Canada’s BVLOS Drone Trials. The proposal focused on testing BVLOS capabilities over open water and partnering to test the delivery of prescription medications to remote areas.
There were three parts to the August 19 trials including delivery of an Epi pen (Epinephrine) and Narcan, leaving London Drugs’ mobile facility in Duncan, B.C. to the local Country Grocer on Salt Spring Island as well as direct, pin-pointed delivery to a patient’s home on Salt Spring Island.
“We are proud to have been selected to participate in the first trial of a Drone delivery of this kind in Canada,” said Chris Chiew, general manager of Pharmacy, London Drugs. “The ability to provide medications to patients in remote areas that would otherwise have to travel hours to obtain pharmacy service is significant in so many ways. In the very near future we will be able to provide delivery of prescription medications to an abundance of areas not accessible by vehicle.”
The operational data obtained from the August 19 trials will be used by Transport Canada to inform BVLOS regulations moving forward in Canada. As part of the ongoing testing, Canada Post is simulating deliveries over bodies of water, icy roads and challenging terrain to temporary camps and other remote locations.
“The delivery of prescription medications by drone to rural areas will be of great advantage to communities across the country including Northern Canada and as well to hospitals in remote communities where drones can land on hospital Heli pads,” said Philip Reece, CEO, InDro Robotics.