Drones to transport medicines to remote areas: Telespazio’s U-ELCOME project presented at the Fucino Space Centre

Using drones to transport medicines in villages that are difficult to access or in remote areas, thus providing citizens with an indispensable and sustainable service in areas where traditional means of delivery may be slow or difficult. This is the goal of the UELCOME project, presented today at the Fucino Space Centre by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), which sees the company involved as a technology partner as end-to-end service manager and ENAC-certified drone operator, together with the Sirente Velino Regional Natural Park (AQ), the Local Health Authority 1 (ASL1), Abruzzo municipalities in the area, and the ASL’s Restricted Committee of Mayors.

The project is part of the broader U-space European COMmon dEpLoyment (U-ELCOME) of the European initiative SESAR 3 JU Digital Sky Demonstrators, coordinated by the Eurocontrol Innovation hub, which involves 51 partners from Italy, Spain and France. The event was attended by: the Abruzzo Region’s Councillor for Budget, Mario Quaglieri; the Abruzzo Region’s Councillor for Productive Activities, Industrial Research and Employment, Tiziana Magnacca; Pierluigi Biondi, President of the ASL1 Mayors’ District Committee and Mayor of L’Aquila; Francesco d’Amore, President of the Sirente Velino Park; Ferdinando Romano, General Manager of ASL1 Abruzzo; and representatives of the companies and partners involved. Telespazio’s speakers included the Head of Research, Digital and Innovation, Marco Brancati, and the Head of the Geoinformation Business Line, Paolo Minciacchi. Also present at the initiative were the Vice-President of L’Aquila Province, Gianluca Alfonsi, and the mayors of the municipalities involved in the experimentation: Celano, Rocca di Mezzo, San Demetrio ne’ Vestini and Castelvecchio Subequo.

In a mountainous area such as the Sirente Velino Regional Natural Park, the delivery of medicines delivery of hospital medicines can be put at risk due to inaccessible roads and, especially in winter, bad weather and snow, creating great bad weather and snow, creating great inconvenience. The E-ULCOME project therefore aims to ensure the delivery of medicines to all those who need them and live in the Park area through the use of
remote-controlled and satellite aircraft technologies, which will be tested and trialled in the coming months. coming months.

In particular, the project envisages drones transporting the medicines distributed by the hospitals of L’Aquila and Avezzano to special proximity hubs in the municipalities that have joined the experimentation, in particular
those of Castelvecchio Subequo, Rocca di Mezzo and San Demetrio ne’ Vestini, from which they will then be collected and delivered, by a pharmacist, to the end user. The airfield in the municipality of Celano, on the other hand, will have the role of technical stopover to make the service between the Park municipalities more efficient.

In the first phase of the experiment, the drone will be able to fly 35 km in BVLOS mode (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) mode, travelling along predetermined routes, with the possibility of an intermediate recharging stop to increase the autonomy. intermediate recharging stops to increase the autonomy. At this stage, the delivery service will be limited to medicines that do not need refrigeration.

As drone operator and technological partner, Telespazio will make available to the project all the innovations developed in the area of unmanned aircraft and navigation and communication services satellite navigation and communication services. Telespazio, in particular, will manage the entire drone delivery service, from the planning and execution of the flight to the request for authorisation, through the proprietary T-DROMES® platform, which will act as a true cloud-based control centre for the system, also contributing significantly to the optimisation and simplification of routes.

Telespazio will also provide commercial drones equipped with the TPZ Air 100 box, which allows reliable and safe command and control of the drone thanks to both satellite and terrestrial communication channels
satellite and terrestrial communication channels. Having completed the testing phase, the partners aim to finalise technologies, procedures and processes to arrive at the actual service in 2025.

In recent years, Telespazio has added to its consolidated space expertise, new capabilities and technologies in the area of drones, investing in key Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sectors such as public safety, infrastructure monitoring, agriculture and healthcare logistics. Today, thanks to assets such as the proprietary T-DROMES® platform, the ability to integrate innovation linked artificial intelligence to geoinformation, the availability of satellite communication services, as well as as a Drone Operator with a certified Safety Management System, Telespazio is able to offer institutions and companies end-to-end services that are scalable over vast geographical areas, offering its unique know-how and global presence.

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