Greece tests drone drug delivery for remote regions


A medicines delivery drone flies outside a drugstore in Trikala, Greece September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Thanos Floulis

TRIKALA, Greece (Reuters) - Greece on Tuesday tested a drone to deliver medicines to isolated places in an environmentally friendly way, sending the unmanned vehicle to a 200-person village.

The red drone with four rotor blades took off from the northwestern Greek city of Trikala and flew 3 kilometers (0.5 miles) to Leptokarya. It made two stops, landing outside a pharmacy and in a farmer's field.

A pharmacy staff member unloaded the medicine from a storage compartment on the drone, and it took off again.

"Technology can give real solutions to real problems that we have today. Today we transported medicines to a pharmacy nearby, tomorrow it could be to transport medicines to some emergency," said Trikala Mayor Dimitris Papastergiou.

The EU-funded program called Harmony aims to use low carbon and less resource intensive solutions for transport.

The drone program is intended to serve people with mobility issues, isolated villages and homes and sites of emergencies. Officials said the project is particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It concerns situations where immediate help will be needed, or people and places that are isolated," said Dimitris Anastasiou, president of the Trikala pharmacists' association.

The Harmony program, which also has autonomous vehicles, will be tested in six cities in Europe and Britain.

(Writing by Deborah Kyvrikosaios; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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