The Public Health Ministry successfully used drones to fly a 12-kilometre journey across the sea to deliver medicine to a hospital on Koh Puyu in Satun province.
On Friday, Dr Sophon Mekthon, assistant to the public health minister, and Dr Nutthapong Wongwiwat, deputy director-general of the Department of Medical Services, held a press briefing to reveal the results of a drone trial for medicine delivery in Satun.
"The trial is a part of medical service digitisation by applying technology to provide more accessible and affordable services to people living in remote areas," said Dr Sophon.
The ministry's research committee had decided to conduct a trial drone run in the southern province of Satun.
"[The trial] marks the first time that Thailand has seen a drone flying across the sea to deliver medicine," Dr Sophon said.
"The drone took tetanus vaccines from Satun Hospital onshore to Puyu tambon health promotion hospital on Puyu island and delivered bags of blood back to Satun hospital," he added.
The route covered 12km to and from Satun Hospital. Dr Sophon revealed that the project was assisted by a team of developers from Singapore, Skyports, and Gp Capt Anukoon Onchan-om, a student from National Defence College.
The drone is an innovation from Skyports Swoop Aero. The model is the 17-kilogram Swoop Kookaburra Mark 3. It can carry deliveries of up to 3kg at a fastest speed of 68 kilometres per hour.
"The drone can fly continuously for 68 minutes and can operate in rain at levels below 10 millimetres per hour," Dr Sophon added.
He also revealed that the medical drone service had been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority Of Thailand and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC).
The drone is guided by satellite communication which can be operated across the country.
"The drone trial proved to be a success," Dr Sophon said.
"It will give people living in remote areas access to medicines and medical services," he added.
"In the event of any emergencies such as natural disasters, medical drones can deliver medicines, vaccines and serums to patients," he noted.
"It will be used as a model for other operations in the country soon," Dr Sophon went on to say.