SAFIR-Med project wins the Demonstration Research award by SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking


Future Needs is very proud to see a consortium and project we helped put together three years ago, recognised with a SESAR Digital Sky Award! Our SAFIR-Med project was granted the award in the Very LArge-sale Demonstration category, on the 9th March, in a ceremony at the annual ATM industry meeting in the Airspace World 2023, in Geneva.

After two years of hard collective work on safe, sustainable, and socially acceptable medical drone deliveries, our Horizon-funded UAM project SAFIR-Med attained another great accomplishment. This time it was winning the Digital European Sky Award for the Very Large Demonstration category, granted by SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking during a ceremony at AirspaceWorld, the annual gathering of the global ATM industry. The event took place in Geneva, on the 9th of March 2023.

This award is a testimony to our hard work and commitment to ensuring socially beneficial urban air mobility and showing how drones can be used to support Europe’s healthcare system. Besides demonstrating successful emergency medical service delivery by drones, the project activities included a first approach for the alignment of UAM with Smart City concepts and standards, during which Future Needs led the development of a UAM (Urban Air Mobility) Smart City Indicators Framework. All winning projects were recognised for demonstrating excellence in technological innovation, their potential to have a positive long-term impact on ATM performance, and their overall contribution to the SESAR programme.

During the SAFIR-Med project lifetime, some very important milestones were achieved. Namely, on June 17th, 2022, the first Operational Authorisation to operate true Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights in a European populated (urban) environment was granted to the SAFIR-Med project. On the 21st of June 2022, the SAFIR-Med project performed in Antwerp, the first ever SORA-compliant BVLOS transportation flight over a populated area, under the new EASA UAS regulations. A few months later, on October 26th, 2022, the 1st BVLOS demonstration flight in the MAHHL region was conducted. It was executed from the Dutch border to the UKA University Hospital in Aachen, Germany, and the challenging country border area provided very interesting project learnings. Last but not least, some fast-time simulations were conducted by AgentFly Technologies in the cities where demonstrations took place during the SAFIR-Med project. 

All the project results were intensively disseminated through the project’s channels and events to contribute to the wider acceptance of drones in urban air mobility. Future Needs as the dissemination leader of the project is proud to be part of this consortium and for having collectively walked the extra mile to make this happen! The other project partners are: Helicus, Skeyes, Droniq GmbH, SkeyDrone, Unifly, SABCA, INVOLI, RWTH Aachen University, HUSI (Hellenic U-Space Institute), flyXdrive GmbH, NSX – Normalized Systems, HyFly – Hydrogen Powered VTOL Drone, Delft University of Technology, EHang (NASDAQ: EH), AgentFly Technologies, Stadt Aachen.

Last but not least, we want to thank the advisory board members for their support during the project’s life: EASA – European Union Aviation Safety Agency, EUROCONTROL, EUROCAE, Proximus, Croix-Rouge de Belgique, Zuyderland, Baloise BE Baloise CH, Stad Antwerpen, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, VTT, ITG Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia, GZA Ziekenhuizen

Read more about the SESAR Digital Sky Awards 2023 here:
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