Tech

Matternet: Swiss Post resumes drone deliveries

The Swiss Post delivery drones start again. The drones had stayed on the ground since a drone crashed last year. From January 27, the aircraft of the US manufacturer Matternet will again deliver blood samples and other medical goods. A commission of experts had checked the drones and concluded that they were safe.

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After the crash, the Swiss Post, which operated the drones, convened a commission of aviation experts to review the security processes. The experts received according to the post "comprehensive insight into Matternet's processes and documents",

The expert council completed its investigations in December 2019. "We attest to the Post and Matternet a high security standard and a strong security awareness". summed up Michel Guillaume, Head of the Center for Aviation at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and member of the Expert Council. "The processes examined were already at a high level before the incidents. There are no concerns that argue against the resumption of flight operations."

In Switzerland, drone deliveries have been tested since 2017. A regular delivery service started in 2018. First in Lugano in the canton of Ticino, then also in Zurich, the Quadrocopter Matternet M2 V9 flew blood samples, medication and medical samples back and forth between hospitals.

The delivery service is to be resumed first in Lugano. The advantage of delivery by air is speed: according to the post, the laboratory samples in Lugano are up to 45 minutes quicker with the drone than with an auto courier.

In May 2019, however, one of the ten-kilogram drones in Zurich fell in a forest near the university, although Matternet equips its aircraft with safety mechanisms: in the event of a system failure, the copter switches off the rotors and a parachute opens, causing it to sink to the ground , In addition, an acoustic warning signal sounds.

The parachute opened during the crash in Zurich, but the rope with which it was attached to the drone broke. So the drone fell to the ground. Nobody got hurt. A few months earlier, there had already been an incident during a presentation over Lake Zurich when the GPS failed at a copter. As a result, he had floated warningly on his parachute towards the lake and sunk in it. Swiss Post suspended deliveries after the crash.

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