Israel builds network of urban delivery drones amid COVID-19 outbreak

Israel has launched a project to build a network of drones that deliver medicines and test samples to hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories all over the country amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as part of its examination of the national aerial regulation for urban cargo drones.

Daniella Partem, leader of the inter-ministry drone project on behalf of the Israel Innovation Authority, told Xinhua that it is the first time the government has formed an official team to deal with drone regulation in Israel.

Gadi Mendelson, director of Dorot Natanya Rehabilitation Medical Center that was chosen as the first location for the project, said the first few weeks of the pilot project have been very helpful and promising.

Samples taken from patients in the departments arrive with drones at the laboratory within a few minutes, Mendelson told Xinhua.

Referring to the COVID-19 outbreak as what is behind the immediate launch of the project, Partem, also head of the Iaraeli Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of a collaboration with the World Economic Forum, noted that the pandemic has added new challenges to the transportation of goods.

Israel is one of the most densely populated and urbanized countries in the world, with high buildings and congested traffic on the ground and in the air.

These conditions make it challenging enough to regulate the delivery drone flights that will share the country’s small airspace with its army aircraft, airliners, agriculture spray planes and others.

It is worth noting that Israel is now one of the first countries to initiate delivery drone flights in an urban area.

“In the future, where only imagination can lead us, we will be looking at urban air mobility, larger cargo packages, food delivery and more as part of our daily life,” said Libby Bahat, head of the aerial infrastructure department at Civil Aviation Authority of Israel.