preparation for the next step in the Medical Drone Service project, ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MAA) purchased the Avy New Aera. This improved version of the first generation Aera offers, among other things, a wider flight range. Together with partners KPN and PostNL, ANWB MAA is gearing up for the first operational medical drone flight, later this year.

Medical Drone Service

The Medical Drone Service project was announced in November 2019, the aim is to investigate whether drones can be used in the Netherlands to transport emergency medical goods, such as donor blood and special medication. Especially in busy cities, drone transport would not only be faster, but also safer and cleaner.

A consortium consisting of ANWB MAA, PostNL, Erasmus MC, Sanquin and KPN chose to test and test flight with the Avy Area developed in the Netherlands. With that aircraft, the necessary test flights have been made in recent years. Initially between Zwolle and Meppel, later also between Rhoon and Oud-Beijerland.

According to Simon Prent, Manager Drone Operations at ANWM MAA, all technical challenges have now been solved. “From now on, the focus will be on the procedural aspects of the drone flights. These are the hardest thing to solve, but we expect to be able to take the final steps at the end of this year,” says Prent.

New type of drone

The results of the first series of test flights are very positive and that is why the consortium is now taking the next step. In preparation for the first operational drone flight, ANWB Medical Air Assistance (MAA) has purchased a new drone, the Avy New Aera. Together with partners Avy and KPN and a rapidly growing number of healthcare institutions, the first operational flights will be carried out later this year.

The Avy New Aera was introduced in November 2021. Compared to its predecessor, the New Aera has a wider flight range (up to 100 km) and the ability to transport up to three kg of medical goods. The drone’s cruising speed is 90 km/h.

Prent: “The New Aera and its accessories allow us to operate our long-haul BVLOS flights in almost all weather conditions, for almost all medical applications and almost all locations, including urban environments.”

Docking station

The docking station also developed by Avy will be placed on or near a hospital as part of the Medical Drone Service project, so that the drone can safely land, deliver medical goods and start the return flight charged.