Scotland trials drone-delivered school meals


Argyll and Bute Council and drone specialists Skyports are trialing the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in delivering school meals.

Flying from Oban Airport, the trial involves delivering meals freshly prepared in Park Primary School in Oban to Lochnell Primary, which is 1.5km away.

Argyll and Bute is Scotland’s second largest local authority with 23 inhabited islands, the most of any UK authority. While the majority of schools have kitchens on site preparing meals, the provision of school meals to some rural and remote schools currently relies on traditional methods of transport including vans, taxis and ferries, which can be affected weather conditions.

The use of drones would help the council to deliver meals to all remote and island schools reducing current delivery times and costs, and help contingency planning in emergencies. The drones also offer an alternative carbon free mode of transport, as they are fully electric.

The trials are part of ambitious plans for the council to create an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Innovations logistics Hub at Oban Airport.

Councillor Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council: “We are committed to connecting remote and island communities to vital mainland services. The possibilities of using UAV’s to improve services to our communities is quite staggering. Argyll and Bute is the perfect location to test the efficiency of drone technology. We have already seen how drones can deliver essential medical supplies to our islands and now we want to make sure all pupils have access to healthy school meals.

This is just the start of what is possible using drones as we look to create the UK’s first UAV logistics and training Hub at Oban Airport. From maintaining our assets including roads and bridges to inspecting offshore wind farms, developing the use of drones will help develop skills, create jobs and attract further and investment to the area.”