Safe and flexible integration of advanced U-space services for medical air mobility
SAFIR-Med is a U-space management large-scale innovation project. 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. Furthermore, it aims to ensure democratic access to cure and care for future generations.
What will we learn from SAFIR-Med?
All lessons we will learn from this U-space management project will be documented in a performance assessment and a 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.
- Α 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).
The role of Future Needs in the project
Future Needs is leading the development of Smart City UAM indicators framework in the SAFIR-Med project. In this task we conduct an impact assessment on the effectiveness and implications of UAM adoption for the urban spatial structure and citizens focusing on the mid-term timeline. We primarily focus on the significance of changes that will be brought about in the city context considering the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Sustainable Urban Mobility Indicators (SUMI) outlined by the European Commission.
Furthermore, Future Needs leads the dissemination, communication and exploitation activities of the project. We have created the website and the newsletter and curating the social media, Twitter and Linkedin of the project. More specifically, the website presents project’s deliverables, news, brochures, flyers, videos, consortium’s expertise in UAM and project’s progress and results from the demonstrations. In our role of social media coordinator we are posting news and updates on the SAFIR-Med activities and the progression of project’s tasks and deliverables, as well as launch novel cross-project campaigns like running the #UAMExplained campaign.
Future Needs also prepares and conducts the Human Performance Assessment during the demonstrations. Our role is to identify the HP requirements and recommendations to support the design and development of the new U-space concept. We ensure that the roles and responsibilities of human actors in the demonstrations are clear and exhaustive and that the refined operating methods are also exhaustive and support human performance, and finally that human actors can achieve their tasks in a timely and accurate way.
Last but not least, Future Needs acts as a Sustainability manager in the project. We ensure the future exploitation and deployment of the project results and the continuation of the SAFIR-Med research and innovation.
Finally, Future Needs is in charge of the research ethics and data protection of the project. We coordinate the process of keeping records on how, when, where and why data is collected, how it is processed, how it is used, stored and secured, how access is granted to project partners. All that is documented in the Data Management Plan of the Project as well as the Ethics deliverables.
What will be tested during the project?
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 will be combined with manned aviation in operational exercises that will validate technology in real urban environment. These platforms are: passenger eVTOL, hydrogen fuel cell VTOL, AED medical drone, X8 medical transport and tiltwing VTOL drone.
What about project demonstrations?
Project demonstrations will take place at the city of Antwerp in Belgium and in Aachen, Germany. Thus they will include 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 validated 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.
What will EU cities achieve through this project?
Thanks to SAFIR-Med EU cities will be enabled to:
- Κeep up with relevant regulatory changes.
- Ιnclude 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 and under the topic “SESAR-VLD2-03-2020: U-space capabilities and services to enable Urban Air Mobility”.