Unmanned aircraft are being successfully used in many sectors like inspection, surveying, film, photography, or agriculture. In the scope of project “Medifly Hamburg” researchers concern themselves with the question of how to use unmanned aircraft for the transport of medical goods. It is about drones transporting medical goods reliably, and about operating the flights in urban airspace.
Hamburg poses a complex environment: The flights are being conducted above densely populated areas, within the control zone of Hamburg’s international airport, and together with dense helicopter traffic. This requires much coordination with competent authorities, airspace users, and citizens.
Every day, surgical operations are being conducted that require taking tissue samples that need to be analysed during the operation. Nowadays however, pathology laboratories are no longer in-house, but at external locations. In consequence, the samples need to be transported to these locations. Precious time passes, as the transport makes its way through the dense urban traffic, while the patient is kept under sedation.
This is one example where unmanned aircraft can make a significant difference. Another example is transport of urgent medication. Flying, drones avoid the traffic jams and arrive much quicker at their destinations.
The objective of the project is to demonstrate, how medical air freight services with unmanned aircraft in urban airspace in and out of the control zone of an international airport can be safely conducted.
It shall be demostrated, how drones can reduce transport times, and improve patients’ well-being. The focus is on administrative and technological implementation issues, and the support of the populace.
The second phase focuses on establishing regular operations. For a few months, unmanned aircraft shall conduct operations between multiple hospitals.
The first phase shall demonstrate the feasibility of conducting safe flights in urban airspace, and in the airport control zone.
The City of Hamburg and local industry sign letter of intent to become EU model region for urban air mobility (UAM).
The network “Windrove” founded by initiative of ZAL GmbH, Hamburg Ministry of Economy, and Hamburg Aviation; initially funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
During the workshop, transporting medical goods is identified as promising use case for unmanned aircraft. Subsequently, several Hamburg-based companies join forces to launch the project “Medifly Hamburg”.