The transportation of biomedical material with drones is the goal of the test, which has just been successfully completed, designed and undertaken by Leonardo, Telespazio (joint venture between Leonardo 67% and Thales 33%) and Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with ENAC (National Civil Aviation Authority).
This is one of the first demonstrations in Italy of biological samples and biomedical products delivery, along routes not easily accessible by ordinary roads, with the aid of vertical take-off drones equipped with electric propulsion and therefore with a very low ecological and acoustic impact.
Rehearsals took place between the 19 and 22 October. The drone transported biomedical material flying near Rome, between two sites of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital which are more than 32 km away from each other: from the S. Marinella collection centre to the Palidoro analysis centre and vice versa, using an automatic control mode beyond the operator’s visual line of sight (BVLOS).
The test involved the use of Telespazio’s cloud-based T-DROMES digital platform, which allows the provision of end-to-end services: from planning to conducting the mission of a drone, up to the processing of data acquired by the on-board sensors.
As part of the experiment, the drone operators tested the U-Space geo-awareness and strategic deconfliction services provided by the D-FLIGHT platform, set up in 2018 by ENAV (the company that manages civil air traffic in Italy) together with Leonardo and Telespazio. Thanks to the services that will be progressively made available by D-FLIGHT, it will be possible for traditional aviation and thousands of drones to coexist in the Italian airspace as drones will be entrusted with the most diverse tasks in the future. D-FLIGHT is confirmed as one of the first operational U-Spaces in Europe.
Finishing in December 2020, the testing campaign includes several additional phases, in which various types of remotely piloted aircraft will be used. The long-term objective is to be able to extend the service in a densely populated urban environment, by connecting the headquarters of Palidoro to the other Bambino Gesù sites in Rome.