Pharmaceutical group Pharmaniaga Berhad seems to be looking into using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to quickly deliver medicine in hard-to-reach remote areas. The first phase of this proof-of-concept (POC), which is codenamed Project Eagle, was successfully executed recently on Pangkor Island, Perak.
The company said that the POC involved delivering 3kg of medicine from a jetty in Manjung to Klinik Kesihatan Pangkor. The drone covered a distance of 4.2km and is apparently “the first longest-distance drone medical delivery of pharmaceutical products over water in Malaysia”.
Group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope said that while using a ferry from the jetty to do medical deliveries usually takes 30 minutes, the drone delivery only took approximately 3.5 minutes. Supporters of Project Eagle include the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, among others.
According to Pharmaniaga, drone deliveries are five times more efficient than conventional methods in transporting medicine to remote government hospitals and clinics. The project is aimed at reducing delivery time and cost, as well as increasing supply chain efficiencies.
Project Eagle is planned to be tested in different locations and terrains in the near future, including remote areas in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Pharmaniaga’s not the only company looking to make use of drones for logistics, as AirAsia is working with the government for urban drone deliveries, while DHL Malaysia is also planning for the technology to transport cargo at commercial ports.