The SAFIR-Med project will showcase an application for multiple drone operations that is viable, robust and ready-to-implement throughout Europe. A broad range of operations and services up to U3 linking to smart mobility will be demonstrated, including flights in both controlled and uncontrolled very low level (VLL) airspace; flights in both Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS); and flights interacting with both manned aircraft and other unmanned aircraft. These demonstrations will include medical inter-hospital transport and transport of the life -saving medical goods to the scene of the incident.
We will further validate results achieved by enhancing the real demonstrations through large-scale simulations in order to test the maximum airspace capacity and then further validating our results by simulating demonstrations both in the cities where the real urban demos will take place, but also in two additional locations in Europe, namely Athens, Greece and Prague, Czech Republic. Lessons learnt will be documented in a Performance Assessment and recommendations report, providing refinements to the current U-space architecture principles and creating measurable indicators for UAM which will enable Smart Cities to include UAM in their Transport Roadmaps and set relevant measurable goals aligned with the current Smart City concept and standards.
First a full de-risking process of the demonstrator flight scenarios will be practiced and finally executed at the BVLOS testing area DronePort in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. This will be organized in cooperation with key stakeholders, like the involved CAA’s, the various involved authorities and ground partners. Interaction with several organisations will be sought after to align on safety requirements, advised procedures and their feedback will be provided.
SAFIR-MED prioritizes safety and considers successful completion of demonstrations at DronePort to be a necessary precondition for moving to the second phase. The DronePort test facility allows testing of complex scenarios in segregated airspace. This allows for identifying potentially unidentified risks in a real-life environment excluding the accompanying risk of executing those scenarios in non-segregated airspace.
This complex airspace consists of the overlapping Geozones of Antwerp International Airport and the Geozone above the Port of Antwerp as well as several heliport Geozones. Each of those Geozones has its own managment and procedures for approving drone flights. Antwerp demonstrations will be executed in close cooperation and coordination with BCAA, the Port of Antwerp and its geozone manager, the airport and heliport Geozone managers as well as Air Traffic Control, Antwerp city authorities and emergency services.
In addition to the medical use cases, a manned training flight from Antwerp International Airport will generate a conflict with medical transport use cases that are operating underneath the airport’s VFR circuit and/or are crossing the Antwerp airport runway extended centreline.skeyes, SkeyDrone, Helicus and SABCA will support the demonstration teams to obtain necessary permissions for demo flights in Antwerp and the Port of Antwerp. Experience from the SAFIR project and the Medrona project will be used in planning and obtaining such permissions. Helicus will be the registered operator for flights executed in Antwerp.
MAHHL-Cities UAM Region
Aachen, Heerlen, Maastricht
Within SAFIRmed, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) from partners in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany will demonstrate cross-border medical transports in the region of the five MAHHL-cities Maastricht (NL), Aachen (DE), Hasselt (BE), Heerlen (NL) and Liege (BE). These cities founded the MAHHL-Urban Air Mobility-Initiative under the umbrella of the European UAM Initiative Cities Community in September 2018 with the objective to support the development of innovative aerial transport and logistical solutions across the region. The initiative has already begun to strengthen cross border cooperation in the medical sector.
RWTH Aachen University will support the demonstration with respect to safety aspects and risk assessment and - together with Droniq GmbH - towards airspace integration and UAS traffic management of the beyond visual line of sight operation (BLVOS) across borders. As UAM-MAHHL coordinator, the City of Aachen is in charge of social acceptance and privacy protection and – together with the University Hospital Aachen (UKA) – will coordinate the demonstrations with the hospitals of the Zuyderland Medical Center and the Maastricht UMC.
Simulations will be enabled by the simulation platform of Agentfly, and assisted with location data by HUSI.
In Athens Greece there are two main hospitals that serve a huge number of incidents every day. The one is placed on the south western side of Athens and the other one on the north west side of Athens. Taking into consideration the huge traffic load that exists in Athens especially at rush hour, despite the fact that the distance is less than 20 km by car, it can take almost 1 hour for a crucial sample to be delivered from hospital to hospital. Having a VTOL drone or a multicopter capable of carrying payload would allow to deliver the sample from point A to point B. The flight plan route design should take into consideration archaeological monuments, highly populated areas, manned aviation traffic and low altitude helicopters. In this case the U-Space service provider should get permission from FIS (Flight Information Service), and simultaneously from the CTR of Tatoi Airport. Because our scenarios are medical flights, an exemption could be obtained from the Air traffic services to allow flying above the prohibited archaeological areas.
In Prague, there are several hospitals spread around the city. Similarly, to Athens, the building density and high traffic volumes lead to frequent traffic jams, especially in areas close to the city center. Use of VTOL or a rotorcraft drone could significantly reduce the time required to deliver samples between hospitals or laboratories. Airspace structure is quite complicated at Prague, due to the vicinity of Vaclav Havel Airport (CTR LKPR), several other local airports around Prague and restricted areas (e.g., Prague castle). During the simulated demonstration, samples will be transported between the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) and Motol University Hospital.
SAFIR-Med will organise the Open Days events, during project demonstrations at Droneport, Antwerp and Aachen. During the Open Days events policy makers as well as city and hospital staff will be able to attend a seminar on the possibilities new technologies in UAM can offer to cities. Workshops and seminars taking place are aiming to provide knowledge on the project activities, outcomes and lessons learned and seeking to attract boost willingness to adopt project solutions. This activity will facilitate collaboration and synergies with other projects and initiatives running in the cities, allowing to further build on already existing initiatives and jointly contribute the future vision of the field. Given the high potential social impacts of SAFIR-Med on European society, this task also aims to narrow the gap between research communities and the wider public, by spreading knowledge not only of the project results but to engage public interest and enthusiasm for SAFIR-Med technologies.