In the Dutch city of Dordrecht, a multi-day trial commenced last month to transport medical goods using drones. A large-sized drone equipped with a payload box was regularly flying between the Albert Schweitzer hospital and the central hospital warehouse in Dordrecht. The primary objective of this trial was to gain insights into public perception of drone transport.
The research in Dordrecht is led by the engineering and consultancy firm Antea Group in collaboration with the Dutch Drone Delta Foundation, the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, the Drechtsteden region, and Antea Group. The main focus is to determine the practicality of using drones for transporting medical goods and medicines, as well as the impact on the surrounding environment.
The test flights were conducted within a temporary drone corridor. Over the course of three days, a DJI M300 drone with an attached transport box will fly between the hospital and the central warehouse, maintaining a flight altitude of 50 meters and covering a distance of 800 meters. To ensure safety, the drone will be continuously monitored by observers during the entire flight (EVLOS), and its flight path will avoid busy areas. Additionally, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued due to the presence of a military low-flying route that partly intersects with the designated flying area.
The trial in Dordrecht represents an important step, according to Roel Brandt, Project Manager Drones & Urban Air Mobility at Antea Group/Dutch Drone Delta. “The aim is not only to assess the potential, feasibility, and safety of unmanned air connections for hospitals but also to explore the broader perspective: how can drone technology provide solutions to mobility challenges in the Netherlands? This process primarily involves learning through experimentation and refining approaches along the way.”