The outcome of these evaluations will determine whether permanent drone routes for anti-doping purposes can be set up at future sporting events. Such a first serial use of drone sample delivery would in turn enable the adoption of this transport method by other anti-doping organisations and selected major sports events, making this new sample transportation method a reality in sports.
Drone delivery has multiple advantages that have the potential to complement existing transport methods for anti-doping samples. They do not rely on terrestrial mobility infrastructure that often slows down delivery (congestion, traffic lights, etc.). They have easier access to remote or geographically challenging areas, such as mountain or water venues. Another positive aspect is that drone transport tends to create less carbon dioxide emissions, especially when used as an alternative for cars in remote and highly urban settings. Lastly, the chain of custody of doping samples is shortened when using drone delivery, which contributes to their safety and decreases the possibility of tampering.
“We are proud to lead the way in the exploration of an exciting new method of doping sample transport”, says ITA Director General Benjamin Cohen. “Should the technical, analytical and security evaluation of this pilot project be conclusive, it would lead to a first official implementation of sample drone delivery and could represent a milestone for the clean sport community. The impact on the flexibility and efficiency of sample transport in the future could be significant. We are grateful for the motivation of all involved partners – ADLQ, RigiTech and PCC – to step off the beaten path and collaborate with us on this innovation.”