Rotterdam to trial medical drone service


A medical drone is to be trialled in Rotterdam, Holland after the city’s Erasmus University Medical Center gave the project the go-ahead.

The three-year trial will investigate how drones can be used for medical applications such as transporting blood, medicines, and diagnostic samples to patients and care institutions.

The Medical Drone Service program involves Sanquin Blood Bank, Dutch traveler’s association ANWB, PostNL and drone developer Avy and Dutch telecommunications company KPN.

ANWB will conduct the test flights in order to assess if unmanned drones can make a significant contribution to healthcare in a safe and socially responsible manner. KPN will provide the communication links with the drone.

Jacob Groote, who is responsible for rolling out KPN’s 5G services said, “We are providing the secure and reliable data connectivity that is needed and in partnership with other partners, also the critical data required for flying beyond the line of sight of the drone operator”

KPN has run similar pilot trials in its so-called 5G Field Labs, including the use of unmanned drones for agricultural applications, such as the inspection of crops for diseases as well as for determining the optimum quantities of crop protection agents that need to be applied.

“We see a great deal of potential in drones and their potential contribution to society. 4G and 5G connectivity plus the associated data infrastructure are essential for flying the armed line of sight of the operator,” added Groote.

“This is critical for ensuring that drones can fly safely and at the same time carry out a wide range of tasks. Drones can, for example, be deployed for logistics purposes as well as for safety and security situations in which high-quality video images are of crucial importance. Drones can make a significant contribution to society, for example in the medical sector.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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