Medical Drone Service is an initiative of ANWB and PostNL

The Medical Drone Service announced their partnership this morning, a consortium initiated by ANWB and PostNL, with Sanquin and Erasmus MC as their care-partners, and KPN and Avy as technological partners. Together we’ll explore how drones can benefit the Dutch healthcare system.

The demand for tailor-made care is increasing, while the accessibility of hospitals and care locations is declining. With the use of drones, we investigate how healthcare can be brought faster and closer to the patient, but also strengthen connections between the hospital and laboratories. This concerns, for example, the transport of blood, medicines or diagnostic samples, whereby the drone travels the shortest possible route through the air.

The drone that we use is developed by the Dutch company Avy. The drone rises vertically and once at height the drone continues the flight horizontally. There is a special compartment in the drone that is suitable for transporting medical goods. This keeps the contents of the compartment stable at all times during transport.

For the next three years, Medical Drone Service will investigate how to fly safely and reliably. The first test flights will be conducted in 2020 by the ANWB, the company that also flies the trauma helicopters and ambulance helicopter in the Netherlands. This will happen in a controlled environment. Based on these experiences, we determine the next step outside of this controlled environment. PostNL has brought the parties together to test this new form of care logistics and to jointly learn how the logistics of care can be organized even better.

“By using medical drones, we hope to shorten the routes and thereby organize care faster and more efficiently,” says Jan-Dietert Brugma, pharmacist at Erasmus MC.

“With Medical Drone Service, we are investigating the future alternative to the current emergency journeys that we perform every day in the Netherlands with sirens and flashing lights. With this we hope to be with the patient sooner and to be less of a burden to traffic, ” says Merlijn van Hasselt, spokesperson for Sanquin Blood Bank.

KPN anticipates a sharp increase in the need to deploy drones in various sectors, including the healthcare sector. That is why KPN ensures – among other things through the use of (4G / 5G) connectivity and in close cooperation with (aviation) partners – that companies can make drones fly simply, safely and reliably. The ANWB and PostNL drone will be connected to KPN’s mobile network.

The drone company Avy is developing a drone with wings to transport medical goods in a safe, sustainable and fast way. The autonomous Avy wingdrone with exchangeable storage space can take off and land vertically and also cover long distances.

Source: Medical Drone Service