Since the middle of March the Swiss Post, the Tessiner Spitalverbunds EOC hospital association, and the American drone manufacturer Matternet have been running a test project for flying laboratory samples from one EOC hospital in Lugano to another using drones. The two hospitals are around 1km away from one another. By car the transport would take around ten minutes – the drone takes just two minutes. The flying device is a quadrocopter from Matternet, which has been designed for the transport of goods with a weight below 2kg. It has a reach of around 20km and has an average speed of around 36km/h. The drone is started up via a smartphone app and then independently flies a predefined route. At the start and end point, landing pads are installed that guide the drone to its destination via infrared. The drone has two of every piece of equipment: autopilot, altimeter, speedometer, and gyrometer. If the electronics fail, the drone floats down to the ground with a parachute.
Test operation is running until April 4, then the results will be evaluated. After another test phase in summer, from 2018 regular operation should start up, writes the Post in a press release .