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Safe and flexible integration of advanced U-space services for medical air mobility

SAFIR-Med is a U-space large-scale innovation project funded under the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme. Drones are emerging as a viable solution for urgent and reliable medical transport. The vision of SAFIR-Med is to demonstrate the use of urban air mobility in service to the EU healthcare system ensuring democratic access to cure and care for future generations.

All lessons learnt from the project will be documented in a performance assessment and recommendations report. The report will include:

  • refinements to the current U-space architecture principles,
  • proposals for improved operational procedures and mechanisms for an effective interface with Air Traffic Control (ATC) and U-space service providers, and,
  • a Human Performance Assessment (led by Future Needs) detailing how controllers performed during the demonstrations.

Another innovative outcome of the project is the creation of a set of Urban Air Mobility indicators which will help cities get acquainted with their role in U-space management and help them include UAM in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).

Besides leading the work on UAM indicators development, Future Needs also leads the dissemination and communication activities in the project, acts as a Sustainability manager enabling exploitation of project results and ensures research ethics and data protection

During the project new U-Space services will be tested to validate their contribution to operational safety. Technologies that will be tested during the demonstrations include detect-and-avoid as a service, dynamic geofencing and air traffic prioritization rules. Five drone platforms (passenger eVTOL, hydrogen fuel cell VTOL, AED medical drone, X8 medical transport and tiltwing VTOL drone) will be combined with manned aviation in operational exercises validating technology in real urban environment. 

Project demonstrations will take place in the city of Antwerp in Belgium and the city of Aachen in Germany, thus including trans-border flights in the MAHHL region. A de-risking exercise will take place at the DronePort test-facility in Sint-Truiden in Belgium. Real demonstrations will be enhanced by large-scale simulations in order to test how U-space services respond to maximum airspace capacity. Finally, project recommendations will be further validating by simulating demonstrations in two additional locations in Europe, namely Athens, Greece and Prague, Czech Republic. These demonstrations will include passenger transport between hospitals and public spaces and transport of life-saving medical goods and equipment to the scene of incidents.

Thanks to SAFIR-Med EU cities will be enabled to:

  • keep up with relevant regulatory changes
  • include Urban Air Mobility in their urban development agendas
  • start using Urban Air Mobility technology for the benefit of their citizens.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101017701 under the topic “SESAR-VLD2-03-2020: U-space capabilities and services to enable Urban Air Mobility”.

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