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October 18, 2020 2:01 pm

Israel Launches New Drone System for Delivering Coronavirus Tests, Medical Supplies to Hospitals

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A Skylord drone. Photo: Israeli Ministry of Defense.

A new program using drones to deliver coronavirus tests and other supplies between Israeli hospitals was inaugurated on Sunday.

According to Israeli news website Walla, the devices were put into use by Ziv Medical Center in the eastern Galilee town of Safed, in order to see if they would speed up the delivery of the supplies in relation to other methods like ground transportation and piloted aircraft.

In the first phase of the pilot program, the drones—manufactured by the company Simplex—will fly to destinations up to ten kilometers away carrying weights of approximately five kilograms. GPS technology will be used to guide them to precise locations.

In the second phase, blood packages will be transported from Magen David Adom blood banks in Haifa and Tel HaShomer on flights of 60 and 130 kilometers.

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Flights will then be undertaken carrying expensive medications from the southern city of Ashdod to Safed, a distance of 150 miles.

Salman Zarka, Director of Ziv Medical Center, said that if the new system works, it would be an ideal means of circumventing delays caused by the closing of major traffic routes on holidays and during states of emergency. He added that it could also be of use to the IDF during wartime.

“The use of aircraft allows Ziv Medical Center a fast and efficient supply of equipment, especially in emergencies,” he said.

He added that the system could be a means of connecting Israel’s peripheral communities to the populous center of the country.

Itamar Ben-Meir, CEO of the Ayalon Highways company, which is heavily involved in the new system, called the tests “an important step” that “is becoming even more significant these days when the State of Israel is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.”

“It is now very important to be able to fly deliveries quickly and efficiently, and especially to be able to reduce human contact as much as possible in the delivery of tests,” he added.

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