By Chris Stonor
EHang is embracing medical air mobility after announcing its participation as the only passenger eVTOL partner in the SAFIR-Med project, reports a company press release. SAFIR-Med (Safe and Flexible Integration of Advanced U-Space Services for Medical Air Mobility) is a research and innovation project to develop the use of unmanned aviation in healthcare systems around the European Union.
The project has selected 17 leading partners from eight Member states, supported by eight cross-industry advisory board members including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and The Red Cross. By 2023, the project aims “to demonstrate advanced U-Space services enabling the highest possible operational safety level.” This includes detect-and-avoid as a service, dynamic geofencing and air traffic prioritisation rules.
EHang will use its 216 craft, the company’s flagship two-seat passenger-grade AAV, alongside its Falcon medium-sized AAV to transport medical supplies within an urban environment. The trials will take place in collaboration with healthcare providers like hospitals and medical spaces in the cities of Antwerp (Belgium), Aachen (Germany), Heerlen (the Netherlands) and Maastricht (the Netherlands), leveraging the MAHHL trans-border region.
The trial results will then be further demonstrated in Athens and Prague. Prior to the operational environment demonstrations, a “de-risking exercise” at the DronePort BVLOS test-facility (Belgium) will take place.
EHang are to assist in formulating a performance assessment and recommendations report that “will improve the present procedures and mechanisms for an effective interface between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and U-Space service providers, and suggest a set of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) indicators to complement the existing smart urban mobility indicators used by European cities.”
The project is among several managed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking in a bid to deliver solutions for U-space, the European Commission’s initiative on the safe and secure integration of drones in European airspace.
Participation in the SAFIR-Med project is another milestone for EHang in Europe following two other UAM programs, the AMU-LED project supported by the European Union and the Re.Invent Air Mobility initiative launched in the Paris region.
Coordinated by Helicus, SAFIR-Med project aims to achieve safe, sustainable, socially accepted and effective urban air mobility, as a contribution to the EU healthcare system, ensuring that future generations will continue to have access to the best cure and care. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program.
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