Experiment launched to find safe routes for medical drones
Air transportation of blood, medicines, and lab samples using drones will soon be tested in the Netherlands as part of a partnership between the Dutch air traffic control system will team up with travel association ANWB and telecom provider KPN. Such tests have been carried out in the past to find efficient ways of using the skies to avoid busy road traffic, but now a special investigation will be conducted to determine how the necessary arrangements for using aerial drones can be made.
The first tests will take place this year between the Isala hospitals located in Zwolle and Meppel. Unmanned drones with a diameter of 240 centimeters will be used, which can reach heights above the more familiar drones used by hobbyists.
The drones must be able to select the shortest and fastest route. The intention is that they will travel using digital corridors, where there is separate space allocated for them in addition to regular aviation.
Medical drone flights will also be able to communicate with an Unmanned Traffic Management System (UTM system) in flight, which means that the flight can be carried out more efficiently and safely, among other things.
The first flights between the Isala branches are planned for the first half of this year. Later in 2023, flights will also be carried out in other places, including in the Rotterdam region.
“Experience will be gained in the busier airspace, due to the proximity of Rotterdam-The Hague Airport. By testing drone flights in two different types of airspace, experience is acquired in all possible circumstances,” said the initiators.