Drone Delivery in Abu Dhabi: Matternet and SkyGo Announce First City-Wide Drone Network

drone delivery in Abu dhabiMatternet and SkyGo Announce First City-Wide Drone Network

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Matternet, the global leader in urban drone delivery, announced today a city-wide drone network for the quick delivery of medical goods in Abu Dhabi. Matternet is collaborating with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), as well as SkyGo, a UAE logistics company with in-depth knowledge of the Abu Dhabi healthcare landscape and expertise in logistics and distribution in the Gulf region. The network will provide a major increase in the connectivity of the Emirate’s health ecosystem and position it as a global leader in advanced air mobility. The DoH shared news of the project yesterday.

Matternet will operate its technology under SkyGo’s license for BVLOS drone delivery, and transport urgent, essential medical supplies such as COVID-19 vaccines, blood, and lab samples across Abu Dhabi’s health system.This follows Matternet’s achievement last month of becoming the first drone company in the U.S. to transport the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine via drone.

The Abu Dhabi city network will allow for faster turnaround time (TAT) of samples, more reliable shipment of time-sensitive supplies, reduced waste from inventory centralization, and consolidation of distributed facilities to lower overhead. The service will expand to a 24/7 operation and become a critical component of Abu Dhabi’s logistics infrastructure.

Matternet and SkyGo plan to install 40 drone ports in Abu Dhabi by the end of the first year of operation. A drone transportation network at this scale will not only make healthcare more efficient and improve patient outcomes, but will also lower the number of delivery vehicles on Abu Dhabi’s roads, lessening congestion, improving air quality, and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

The companies have completed the first phase of in-country flight testing, and at the DoH headquarters in Abu Dhabi they recently hosted a real-time demonstration of the service in the presence of H.E. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saed Al Mansoori, H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, and H.E. Sultan Al Dhaheri, Executive Board Member of SkyGo, among others. The demo flight transported a live patient PCR test from Zayed Sports City to a laboratory with end-to-end chain of custody tracking via Matternet’s Terminal and Mission Control applications. The companies plan to complete testing by the end of the year and begin commercial operations in Q1 2022.

“We are seeing Matternet’s vision of building city-wide drone transportation infrastructure come to fruition in Abu Dhabi.” said Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos. “The complementary expertise and synergies with SkyGo have enabled us to move at unprecedented speed with plans to launch a network covering dozens of Abu Dhabi healthcare facilities in just the first year of operation. This will be a model for the rest of the world on how to successfully scale drone delivery for the benefit of healthcare and society overall.”

“SkyGo and Matternet are on a journey to reinvent the supply chain for ‘The City of The Future,’” added SkyGo CEO Houssam Mahmoud. “The first milestone will be to connect the entire healthcare ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.”

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.