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5 September 2022
The SAFIR-Med technical expert meeting in Aachen brings the citizens into the UAM discussion

The MAHHL-Region is the cooperation of the cities Maastricht, Aachen, Hasselt, Heerlen, Liège who have joined the urban air mobility initiative in 2018 with the objective to support the development of innovative aerial transport and logistical solutions across the region. On September 1st, the SAFIR-Med project brought together policy makers, healthcare stakeholders and technical experts to Aachen, with the aim to share and discuss their view on the future of drone traffic in Germany and Europe also  involving the opinions of citizens. The SAFIR-Med team presented the work with respect to safety aspects and risk assessment towards airspace integration and UAS traffic management of the beyond visual line of sight operation (BLVOS) across borders, announcing the final flights demonstrations.

SAFIR-MED project members  and representatives from SJU, EASA and LBA 
(Photo credit: Sebastian Kehr, Wirtschaftsförderung Aachen)

On September 1, the City of Aachen, Droniq and RWTH Aachen University, supported by the project consortium, organized the third and final event of the SAFIR-Med project, will learn more about the upcoming events and demos organised by the SAFIR-Med project in Aachen. In addition to a final presentation of results and an outlook on the future of medical drone use in Europe, the focus of this event was particularly on the participation of citizens. 

The first part took place in the historic Coronation Hall of the city of Aachen. Here, the invited expert audience, consisting of stakeholders from the fields of business, science, politics, and medicine, was informed about the current status of the project. The Local authorities were represented by Ute Kaulisch from Ministry of the Environment, Nature and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westfalia and Dr. Jan Dirks from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. Some of the main topics discussed, were the authorization of drone flights within the EU, the potential applications for UAS as well as the relevance of social aspects and human factors in the future implementation of U-Spaces.  

All interested citizens were invited to participate in the Open Day organised at the University Hospital Aachen. During the afternoon session they were able to get a first-hand impression of the current status of Urban Air Mobility and ask questions to the SAFIR-Med expert panel. Closing the event, the last series of drone flights of the SAFIR-Med project were postponed to the second half of October, as the necessary regulatory approval was obtained later in September. 

The cross-border drone flight from Zuyderland Hospital Heerlen to the University Hospital Aachen, which is included in the SAFIR-Med Demonstrations taking place in October, highlights the cooperation of the MAAHL region in the field of Urban Air Mobility. Meanwhile, the City of Aachen emphasises that the citizens should be able to participate in the decision making regarding the UAS integration in the city infrastracture. In addition to the technical and legal feasibility of such challenging goals, the most important prerequisites for the successful introduction and implementation of new technologies is to address the concerns of the citizens in order to ensure social acceptance.  

More details about the event here.

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