Life-saving drones are taking off in Switzerland, thanks to a revolutionary pilot program announced yesterday by Swiss Post, the national postal service of Switzerland, and drone manufacturer Matternet in partnership with Insel Group, the largest leading medical care system in Switzerland.
Beginning this summer, drones will transport time-sensitive medical laboratory samples and urgently-needed medication between Tiefenau Hospital and University Hospital Insel in the city of Bern. Today, those samples are transported via courier or taxi with significant delays due to ground traffic. Drones provide a safe, efficient, and reliable alternative, saving doctors and patients crucial time in addressing urgent healthcare needs. The pilot project hopes to expand to Zurich later this year.
This remarkable pilot program is also the first instance of routine BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) operations supported by a nationwide integrated airspace system: Swiss U-space (Urban-space).
In early March of this year, skyguide announced a partnership with AirMap to develop and deploy a national drone traffic management system for Switzerland. Swiss U-space, as it is known, will power Switzerland’s thriving community of drone companies with UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) services for advanced commercial drone operations like BVLOS.
“In March, skyguide, FOCA, and AirMap started on the path to deploy the first-ever national U-space system in Switzerland,” said AirMap CTO Andreas Lamprecht. “Today, we celebrate another first: operational BVLOS flights by Matternet and Swiss Post, powered by Swiss U-space and the AirMap platform.”
In the pilot program, Matternet drones will connect to skyguide’s Swiss U-space system, which integrates AirMap UTM core services to allow for coordinated BVLOS operations. AirMap UTM core services include geofencing, integration with skyguide’s air traffic control radar system, dynamic situational awareness, and live telemetry.
Skyguide plays a pioneering role in the European development of U-space and actively supports the integration of drones into Swiss airspace.
“We see great economic and social potential in drones. To exploit this potential, drones need access to Swiss airspace, which is already very busy. The so-called U-space, which skyguide is developing together with AirMap, provides drones with this secure access, making projects such as those of Matternet and Swiss Post possible,” says Robert Fraefel, skyguide’s expert on drones.
The pilot program provides a strong example of how UTM and U-space can be utilized to benefit our cities and communities. To learn more about how AirMap is bringing essential UTM and U-space services to a community near you, visit www.airmap.com/utm and https://www.skyguide.ch/en/events-media-board/news/.
Press Release: https://www.skyguide.ch/en/events-media-board/news/#p15969