UBC signs agreement with drone delivery company to send medical supplies to remote First Nation
The University of British Columbia has inked a deal with Drone Delivery Canada to deploy drones to the Stellat’en First Nation and the Village of Fraser Lake in Northern B.C.
The project is part of UBC’s “Remote Communities Drone Transportation Initiative.”
The drones will be transporting medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and pharmaceuticals.
"This is a project to start our learnings on how this piece of technology can augment care in communities that are really disadvantaged in the health-care system,” said Dr. John Pawlovich, UBC chair of rural health.
The Ontario-based DDC has been involved in various other projects involving First Nations before, but this will be the company’s first involving a B.C. First Nation.
"We submitted a proposal with UBC for a project that we thought would be interesting and benefit First Nations communities," said DDC president and CEO Michael Zahra.
"Were very, very excited to be able to bring this type of project to the community," he added.
In a statement, Stellat’en First Nation Chief Robert Michell said:
“Based on the isolated location of our community and the needs of our residents, drone transport may enhance our access to COVID-19 testing and medication without traveling and endangering other members of our community.”
Pawlovich hopes the project, which will be conducted with DDC’s Sparrow drone, is just the first of many.
“The learning from this project with Stellat’en will be translatable to those more-remote communities as the technology advances,” he said.
All flights will be remotely monitored by DDC from their Operations Control Centre in Vaughn, Ont., and will begin following an eight-week implementation program.