SAFIR-Med project to demonstrate medical deliveries in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands

The two-year SESAR Very Large Demonstration (VLD) project – Safe And Flexible IntegRation of advanced U-space services for MEDical air mobility (SAFIR-Med) – launched on 28 January 2021 aims to demonstrate advanced U-space services for drone medical deliveries in Europe. The project includes participants across the transportation chain including air navigation service providers, drone manufacturers, cities, U-space service providers, operators, public authorities, healthcare actors, technology and service providers. It targets a wide range of medical use cases and will deploy a range of unmanned aviation platforms.

Drone medical deliveries are expected to reduce urgent transport by road, improve medical logistics, enhance patient health outcome and have a positive ecological impact.

The demonstrations will take place in collaboration with hospitals and laboratories in Antwerp (Belgium), Aachen (Germany), Heerlen and Maastricht (The Netherlands), and will include cross-border flights between Germany and The Netherlands. Prior to these real-life demonstrations, a full de-risking exercise at DronePort large scale test-facility in Belgium will take place. The project results will then be further validated by simulating demonstrations in two additional locations in Europe, namely Athens in Greece, and Prague in the Czech Republic.

Five drone platforms will be combined with manned aviation in operational exercises validating technology in real urban environment. These drone platforms cover a variety of technologies that together will support a wide range of medical use cases: passenger eVTOL, hydrogen fuel cell VTOL, AED medical drone, X8 medical transport drone and tiltwing VTOL drone. The demonstration results will be further virtually enhanced through large-scale (hardware in the loop) simulations to evaluate airspace capacity, operator Command & Control Center operations, as well as air traffic control, U-space service provider and zone manager integrated procedures.

Advanced U-Space services to be demonstrated include: Detect And Avoid (DAA) as-a-service, dynamic geofencing and air traffic prioritization rules.

All lessons learnt from the project will be documented in a performance assessment and recommendations report, which will include refinements to the current U-space architecture principles, proposals for improved operational procedures and mechanisms for an effective interface with air traffic control and U-space service providers. Finally, suggestions of a set of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) indicators will complement the existing smart urban mobility indicators used by European cities.

Project partners include: Helicus, Future Needs, skeyes, Unifly, AgentFly Technology, Helenic U-space Institute, SkeyDrone, Droniq, NSX, Involi, RWTH Aachen, flyXDrive, TUDelft MAVlab, HtFly, SABCA, Ehang, and the City of Aachen.

The project is supported by EASA, The Red Cross, Baloise Insurance Zuyderland, Droneport, Proximus, City of Antwerp and Port of Antwerp.

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