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4th April 2017  Content supplied by: Swiss Post

Drones Fly Specimens Between Swiss Hospital Labs

drone moving lab specimens between labsIn mid-March 2017, Swiss Post, the Ticino EOC hospital group and drone manufacturer Matternet launched a joint innovation project: they plan to use modern delivery drones to transport laboratory samples autonomously between two EOC hospitals in Lugano – the Ospedale Italiano and the Ospedale Civico. The samples are currently transported by road. The use of drones will make transport faster and more efficient in order to further enhance the provision of care to patients.

First test flights completed successfully Since mid-March, there have been around 70 autonomous test flights between the two hospital locations. The Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has been involved in the project from the outset: it has inspected the drone and its safety components, defined the legal conditions for flying it, and now granted Swiss Post and Matternet approval for the flights. The partners will carry out further test flights until 4 April, after which an initial evaluation will take place. Further testing with flights is planned over a one-month period in summer 2017.

Regular drone flights expected from 2018 As soon as the drone meets all of the strict requirements regarding safety, practicality and reliability, the regular use of drones between the two hospitals will become an everyday occurrence. This is expected to be achieved by 2018. From then on, trained hospital staff will be able to load the drone independently with a safety box (in which the lab samples are packaged) and launch the drone with a smartphone application. The drone will then fly autonomously along the predefined route to its destination, where the box will be received by another member of staff.

Watch the video to see how it works -

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Date Published: 4th April 2017

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