Swiss Post has been using drones to deliver laboratory samples between two hospitals in Lugano. Seventy test flights have been operated, and the tests are so successful that the city wants to have a regular drone service for the hospitals by 2018.
Drones are not vulnerable to traffic jams and transportation time is pretty fast. Especially in emergence cases, this is a reliable way of transportation. As laboratory samples are not too heavy, drones are the perfect means for transportation. Employees of the hospitals are trained to handle the drones without risk. An app is used to operate the drones.
According the press release, “the logistics drone in use in Lugano is equipped with the very latest technology. It is a quadrocopter from the American manufacturer Matternet. The drone is compact at 80 cm in diameter (without rotor blades), specializes in the transport of light goods weighing up to two kilograms, has a maximum range of 20 kilometres and flies at an average speed of 10 metres per second (36 kilometres per hour). For safety reasons, duplicates of both the autopilot and other important sensors (e.g. altimeter, accelerometer, gyrometer) are always installed.
“In the event of the failure of all electronics, a parachute would be released automatically. A landing pad that transmits an infrared signal is used at the take-off and landing points. During its approach, the drone can detect this signal to ensure a pinpoint landing.”
Using drones in urban areas does carry risks, but Swiss Post ensures safety for the use of the drones in Lugano, and says they have been working closely together with the Swiss aviation regulators. FOCA.
Swiss Post is not the first company to use this kind of transport between hospitals. Silicon Valley firm Zipline uses drones as well to carry out this task in rural Rwanda, but this is the first commercial use of drones in rural area’s.
Have a look at the drones carrying out their mission in the video below: