The development of life-saving drone services proceeds to validations – The AiRMOUR flight demos to start next week in Norway

The Urban Air Mobility project AiRMOUR plans to validate the research carried out in the project via real-life drone flights in Stavanger (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Kassel (Germany). The validations feature several use cases of life-saving services.

AiRMOUR is a research and innovation project focusing on the development of Urban Air Mobility. The aim of the three-year project is to meet the needs of Emergency Medical Services and provide guidance to municipalities on the opportunities of drone services. A total of 13 partners from six countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) are involved in the project, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

In the first half of the project, the AiRMOUR team has carried out research on potential medical use cases, looked for the place of such new drone services in the existing medical system and investigated potential air risks, among other things. Now, the project will proceed to validating the research in real-life drone flights organised from this autumn to spring 2023. The first flights will take place on 21 September in Stavanger, Norway, and continue later in the cities of Helsinki, Finland, and Kassel, Germany.

New knowledge on social and technological aspects of Urban Air Mobility

The AiRMOUR validation flights are planned to include two different drone types (Ehang 216 and Falcon L400) and transportations of both medical equipment and Emergency Medical Services personnel. The deliveries of personnel are most likely to happen by using test dummies. These kinds of new, innovative services are intended to be a useful addition to the existing medical system.

‘The aim of the validations is to progress from less demanding flights and circumstances to the most demanding ones, to increase the overall understanding on what is possible in the European regulatory framework for urban air mobility, with the current operational capabilities and user needs. The expectation is that we will gain a wealth of new state-of-the-art knowledge in terms of the social aspects (e.g. public acceptance, business viability) and also the technological aspects, such as e.g. air risks, ground risks, patient risks, airspace limitations and landing infrastructure – and much more, as determined within our AiRMOUR success criteria work to predate all of the validations,´ says the Coordinator of the AiRMOUR project, Principal Scientist, Doctor Petri Mononen from VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Demonstrations of multiple use cases

During the first AiRMOUR validation flights next week in Stavanger, the operator Ehang Scandinavia will fly a defibrillator over a lake to a person acting as a victim of a heart attack. In November, weather permitting, deliveries of other emergency medical products, such as an EpiPen, adrenaline or specialised medical equipment, will be tested in Helsinki. The final round will be held in Kassel, Germany, in spring 2023, focusing on the transport between medical facilities, i.e. ‘A-to-B flights.’ In Luxembourg, the validations will be carried out as a simulation.

‘Our early validations run primarily to gather a lot of data for further analysis – but very importantly, they also serve as benchmarks for the following ones in order to make sure that we are on the right track in terms of operational capabilities in conformance to the regulations,’ says Mononen.

According to Mononen, all the learnings from the early AiRMOUR validations will affect and improve the following ones. After all the data has been gathered from the validation operations, the project will move into the final analysis and reporting stage to produce the main scientific contributions.

‘The contributions will include meaningful guidance, do’s and don’ts for the rest of Europe to support the safe and effective emergence of urban air mobility,’ he says.

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