Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Gulf could have drone healthcare delivery by 2026

Drone delivery could help provide healthcare to more remote regions of the Gulf, backers of a pilot programme hope Wingcopter
Drone delivery could help provide healthcare to more remote regions of the Gulf, backers of a pilot programme hope
  • Pilot programme nearing completion
  • ‘This is not futuristic’
  • Greater efficiency and reduced costs

Drone delivery technology transporting healthcare materials such as blood samples, vaccines and pharmaceuticals is likely to take to the skies across the Gulf within the next two years.

A test programme between Siemens Healthineers and the German drone manufacturer Wingcopter in Kenya is due to come to a conclusion in the next two and a half months, and its backers hope it could then be rolled out in the Gulf.

Vivek Kanade, the Dubai-based head of business and operations in the Middle East and Africa for Siemens Healthineers, told AGBI: “This is not futuristic. This is not something planned a long way away.

“In the next one year, two years, you should see more examples of this.”

The drones are battery powered and have a 75km range. They are connected to Siemens Healthineers’ laboratory diagnostics facilities, allowing for a two-way delivery of samples, medicine and other medical products to remote areas of the population.

Kanade said the technology results in a faster turnaround time, increased efficiency and a reduction in costs.

“It can scale to any region,” he said. “We can take Dubai as a hub and go up to Hatta, into smaller towns, to provide access, meaning people don’t have to travel up and down the road for their medical needs.”

In 2021, about 4.5 billion people, more than half of the global population, were not fully covered by essential health services, a report from the World Health Organization said.

Across the Middle East and Africa, Kanade said the figure was more than 1 billion.

The research company Statista predicted that the drone market in the UAE alone would generate revenue of $4.1 million in 2023, across a range of different sectors. 

In 2024, the market is predicted to record a growth rate of 7.7 percent.

Latest articles

EGSH

Dubai launches one-stop hub to streamline government services

People in Dubai can now obtain an Emirates ID, register a company, open a bank account and more under one roof following the opening of the Emirates Government Services Hub (EGSH). Owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai Royal family, EGSH allows clients to access all essential […]

In association with
Thailand's consul general Kitinai Nutakul visits the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jeddah

Thailand opens investment office in Saudi Arabia

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) is opening its first Middle East office in Saudi Arabia, signaling a deepening of economic ties between the nations after a longstanding diplomatic spat. The office will focus on attracting Saudi investment into Thailand’s targeted industries and supporting Thai entrepreneurs looking to invest in the region, the BOI said in […]

hajj saudi arabia

Saudia reports big rise in international passengers

Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia reported a 24 percent increase in international passengers to 9.1 million in the first half of 2024. There was also a 13 percent rise in the number of flights. The Hajj pilgrimage in June played a large part in the growth.  The number of passengers flying on domestic routes rose […]

renewables target dam

World is off track to meet Cop28 renewables goal

The world is far from reaching its 2030 renewables target, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said on Thursday. Countries committed at the Cop28 summit in Dubai last year to treble renewables capacity in order to limit global warming to 1.5C. To stay on course global capacity growth needs to accelerate to a minimum rate […]