Medifly's drones to transport medical samples from New Year

German government putting EUR 850,000 towards latest round of project
17 December 2020
Transporting medical samples as part of Medifly project

The German government is putting EUR 850,000 towards the Medifly project which will transport medical goods from 2021 until summer 2022 and between more hospitals. The test phase is likely to last six months and will involve flights across Hamburg. Until now, the Medifly project saw unmanned aerial vehicles transport medical tissue between two hospitals in Hamburg. The basis for regular operation is now being created and more routes are to be opened up and the population involved in the project. 

Test flights planned between hospitals

"The aviation centre of Hamburg outlined the future fields before these latest challenges. We believe in the potential of testing unmanned aerial systems safely - especially for our society and users," said Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics. The second phase from September 2020 to August 2022 will see drones transport medicine, laboratory and tissue samples faster and between several hospitals in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The targeted hospital can be approached swiftly by air and regardless of road traffic.  Urgently needed medicine, for instance, arrives earlier and can save lives in an emergency. However, long-distance flights pose a regulatory challenge as they will be out of the controller's line of vision but in Hamburg Airport’s air control zone.  

Drones in urban spaces

The plans also foresee information events for residents of Hamburg and a survey on the public's attitude toward drones next year. Hamburg is a member of the European drone initiative "Smart Cities Marketplace - UAM" (Urban Air Mobility). Accordingly, cities should determine which drone operations take place in their urban spaces. The goal is to strike a fair balance between the private and public interest. 

Lufthansa Technik and ZAL involved in Medifly

The partners to Medifly include the Ministry of Economics and Innovation, the Hamburg Aviation Cluster, the Logistics Initiative Hamburg, Lufthansa Technik, the Center for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL), FlyNex and the Society for Aviation Informatics (GLVI). The Asklepios Kliniken Hamburg, Schön Klinik Eilbek, Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Hamburg and the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) as well as DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung are among the associated partners.

Hamburg - EU model drone region

Hamburg has been part of the EU's UAM initiative since 2018 and is now an official model region for developing civilian uses of drones. Urban air transport will also top the agenda of the ITS World Congress, which Hamburg is hosting with the German Ministry of Transport in 2021. Around 15,000 trade visitors are expected at the world's largest intelligent transport systems (ITS) event. The congress is proving a catalyst of the senate's ITS strategy to position Hamburg as a model and laboratory of intelligent transport and logistics solutions.

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