As the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads across the world, technology companies are quickly deploying solutions in response to the current health crisis.
The Chinese startup that is based in Hangzhou called Antwork (迅蚁) has been working on urban drone delivery since 2015.
In October 2019, the company was awarded the first license for urban drone delivery in its country by The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Antwork has demonstrated delivery capabilities for food and rural postage in the past and started its business line in medical supply delivery in 2019.
During this epidemic crisis, it has quickly adapted its systems to the emergency delivery needs during the lockdown period and deployed a system that can deliver medical essentials quick and efficiently between medical facilities in Xinchang, Zhejiang, China.
The medical supply delivery system consists of drones and docking station/landing pads.
You can see the Antwork medical supply delivery system in action in the video below.
When a shipment needs to be sent out from the People’s Hospital at XinChang, a hospital staff can go to an Antwork landing pad nearby, and with a tap of a smartphone, a drone will carry medical samples or supplies to the stations in Xingchang Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the Dashiju Hospital as far as 9.5 miles away.
It is reported that drones have improved their efficiency by more than 50% compared to ordinary road transportation. Additionally, the fully automatic system can provide services 24 hours a day while minimizing human contact, further decreasing the chance of the disease spreading.
There are 3-5 more hospitals now also subscribing to Antwork’s solution. Antwork’s drones have flown 60,000 km, and they have a maximum flight range of 15 km in urban areas and a maximum load capacity of 5 kg.
Antwork uses PX4 stack as part of their flight control system, and sends flight data to air traffic controllers. It also obtained approvals to fly through certain stretches of airspace and a medical hygiene certificate as part of compliance.